Brussels, Belgium -
12/19/2008 - Late word that EU Fisheries Ministers agreed today to fully protect four highly endangered shark and ray species helped to ease conservationists’ dismay over the adoption of excessive 2009 quotas for severely overfished spurdog and porbeagle sharks. The Council adopted a science-based proposal from the European Commission to ban the retention and mandate careful release of increasingly rare angel sharks, common skates, undulate rays and white skates.
“EU Fisheries Ministers have done the right thing by agreeing to protect four of Europe’s most threatened marine species, including the critically endangered angel shark,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance. “Whereas such decisive action was also warranted and yet not taken for spurdog and porbeagle sharks, we are very pleased that the new protections have been adopted and hopeful that they will serve to bring these species back from the brink of extinction.”
Some local populations of these bottom-dwelling shark and ray species have already been wiped out, due mainly to unintended catch in fisheries for other species.
Unlike most EU fishing rules, protection of angel sharks will extend into EU waters of the Mediterranean.