ACTION ON SHARK FINNING WELCOME Published:  23 November, 2011

Commission follows Scotland’s lead to strengthen ban on “barbaric” shark finning.

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a complete ban on the practice of shark finning – where fins are sliced off sharks when vessels are at sea, and the dead or dying shark is thrown back to sea. This will now require to also be signed off by the European Parliament before it comes into force.

The move follows the Scottish Government’s lead, which strengthened the shark finning ban for Scottish vessels in January 2010, the first country to do so.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Sharks are part of Scotland’s rich marine biodiversity and I am delighted that the Commission has finally seen sense and followed our lead by closing loopholes in the shark finning ban. Until now it has been possible for other EU vessels to remove fins from sharks when in our waters, therefore I’m relieved that this is to be addressed and call on all MEPs to support the strengthened ban.

“Some shark populations are very vulnerable and shark finning is no more acceptable than the elephant ivory hunters of the last century. There is no place for such destructive and wasteful practices in a modern, sustainability-focused fishing industry.

“I urge the Commission to continue to look at Scotland’s example for progressive measures to protect sharks. In June we announced new rules, which will come into force next year, to further increase protection for vulnerable species, including preventing fishermen landing some shark species and only permitting catch and release by anglers.”

In June the Scottish Government announced new m asures to protect vulnerable species of shark, skate and ray. Find out more at:

Details on the European Commission announcement can be found at: