Strengthing European Fisheries Management: Options for Enforcing the Shark Finning Ban

May 01, 2007

European fleets are among the world’s leaders in fishing for sharks. The most valuable parts of most sharks are their fins, which are a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. Shark meat is less profitable, which results in a strong economic incentive to cut off the fins and discard the carcass back into the sea, a practice called shark “finning”. The Council of the European Union prohibited shark finning in 20031, but in 2006 the European Parliament questioned whether the regulations in place are effective at preventing this practice.

An expert workshop on shark fisheries in Europe, convened by the Shark Alliance and funded by the Lenfest Ocean Program, was held in Brussels in October 2006. Participants described and compared data on shark biology, fisheries, markets and trade (described in the full report), and developed recommendations regarding precautionary, science-based management methods to prevent the practice of shark finning. This Lenfest Ocean Program Research Series report is a summary of the expert workshop’s findings.

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