EU Scientists Endorse Proposals to Limit International Shark Trade

Germany’s CITES proposals clear technical hurdle, face managers tomorrow

EU Scientists Endorse Proposals to Limit International Shark Trade
The EU’s Finning Regulation is inadequate, fraught with loopholes and poses a serious threat to shark populations globally. © Greenpeace

Brussels: The Shark Alliance is heralding today’s unanimous decision by the European Union (EU) Scientific Review Group (SRG) to advise wildlife managers to support proposals for the listing of spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  

Germany has proposed the listings to ensure international trade in these vulnerable species is limited to sustainable levels. Support from the EU is necessary for the proposals to advance to the Conference of the Parties to CITES in June 2007.  The SRG advice will be reported tomorrow to the European Commission CITES Committee who will decide the fate of the proposals.

“We are pleased yet not surprised that top technical experts have recognized the merit in the proposals to list these exceptional sharks under CITES,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance.  “It is now up to the Commission’s CITES Committee to heed this sound advice and approve the advancement of Germany’s proposals to the full CITES meeting.”

Spiny dogfish are sought primarily for their meat, which is exported from all corners of the globe to satisfy European demand. Fisheries generally target pregnant females resulting in severe population damage. Porbeagle shark meat is also valuable, particularly in Europe.  Fins are exported to Asia for use in shark fin soup. 

Serious depletion from overfishing has landed spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Northeast Atlantic populations are considered Critically Endangered.

“We urge the EU to seize this opportunity to lead the world in a landmark shark conservation initiative,” added Fordham. “For such valuable and vulnerable species, the next such opportunity may well come too late.”