Commission Move To Protect Sharks –

Fischler is planning move to conserve sharks

Commission Move To Protect Sharks Fishing Monthly Published:  06 August, 2002

THE European Commission is proposing to end a practice which results in the death of large quantities of sharks by prohibiting shark finning which involves the removal of fins and the discarding of the remainder of the shark at sea.

The effects of this practice, encouraged by the strong international market that exists for shark fins, is having serious effects on several shark populations.

The Commission plans to prohibit this practice within all EU waters and for all EU vessels wherever they fish beyond EU waters.

It recognises, however, the possibility for a legitimate targeted shark fishery involving full use of the catch. “We are committed to better integrate environmental protection into the Common Fisheries Policy. We must act and end a practice that poses a serious threat to several shark stocks”, said fisheries commissioner Franz Fischler, This proposal now goes to the Fisheries Council for decision. Given the problems involved in the identification of species on the basis of removed fins, the Commission proposes to apply this prohibition to all Elasmobranchs which include sharks, skates and rays The practice of cutting ray wings would not be covered by this prohibition, however, as it aims at using the most important part of the fish flesh and ray wings are easily recognisable.