Friday, November 23, 2012

European Parliament Votes at Last for Stronger Shark Finning Ban

Long-fought decision was last major hurdle on path to closing EU loopholes
Strasbourg, France (November 22, 2012): The Shark Alliance welcomes the European Parliament’s vote to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning, the practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea. After years of debate, 566 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favor of a report endorsing the European Commission’s proposal to require that fins be left naturally attached to all sharks that are brought to port.
“Parliament’s vote represents a major milestone in the global effort to end the wasteful practice of shark finning,” said Sandrine Polti, EU shark policy adviser for the Pew Environment Group and policy adviser for the Shark Alliance. “Our diverse coalition has been working toward this and other fundamental reforms in European shark policies for more than six years and is thrilled with today’s vote and the progress we expect to stem from it.”
The 2003 EU regulation that banned finning included an exception under which fishermen with permits can remove shark fins on board and then land them separately from the  bodies. Compliance is monitored through a complicated process of measuring and comparing the weights of the fins with the weight of the whole shark, which leaves significant room for undetected finning.
The European Parliament called for improvements in the EU finning ban in 2006 and urged the commission in 2010 to propose an end to at-sea shark fin removal. The commission’s proposal, released in November 2011, was endorsed by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament’s Environment Committee in the spring of 2012. The Parliament’s Fisheries Committee deliberations have been lengthy and at times confused, with several MEPs fighting hard to maintain loopholes.
“We congratulate the European Commission for leadership in this long effort and extend our gratitude to the 25 EU Fisheries Ministers and hundreds of MEPs who supported a stronger EU finning ban, as well as the tens of thousands of European citizens who encouraged them to do so,” Polti said.
“Shark Alliance member groups look forward to continued cooperation in shepherding and promoting a final ‘fins-attached’ rule and in securing complementary safeguards, such as domestic and international catch limits, to fully address the overexploitation of sharks.”
Martin Clark
EU Coordinator for the Shark Alliance
(+44 (0) 7880 565 393 (mobile); +44 (0) 207 254 0280 (office)

Sharkman's comment.  The Shark Alliance has been working on this campaign for over 6 years. Sharkman's World Organization has been a member of the alliance since 2007. It is great to see that finally our hard work has paid off. 

In 2007, The Shark Alliance presented over 20,000 signatures to the EU Commission asking for better regulations. 

2007 - Shark Alliance members outside EU Commission in Brussels.

2007 - Over 20,000 signatures handed over to the EU Commission.
In 2008 the Shark Alliance continues to campaign for better Shark regulations and a total stop to shark finning.
Over 100,000 signatures where again presented to the commission.

2009 the EU Fisheries Commissioner releases the "Plan of Action for Sharks". This was the first sign that the EU was listening to what the people wanted.

2009 - Shark Alliance members with EU Commissioner Joe Borg.
.In 2010, the proposal for the ending of all finning at sea was made and this was endorsed by the Council of Ministers.

In 2011, Shark Alliance members meet and propose the "Fins Naturally Attached - With No Exceptions" campaign.
2011- Shark Alliance initiate the "Fins Naturally Attached - With No Exceptions."
In Spring of 2012 Parliament’s Environment Committee endorsed the proposal but Fisheries committee had some opposition. The debates were lengthy and at times very confusing  but finally, yesterday European Parliament voted 566 to 47 in favour of ensuring that all sharks are landed fins naturally attached without exception. The amendments we supported were passed and those we opposed were soundly defeated.

Once again, the road to victory was a long and hard one, but at the end, we did it!

My thanks goes out to all my fellow members at the Shark Alliance and especially to the steering committee. To all the MEP's and Ministers that supported and voted for our sharks. To all the thousands that signed our petitions and to everyone that helped make the possible. 

God bless you all.

Shark Powered

The Sharkman.

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