Brussels – A report issued today by the European Court of Auditors offers a stinging critique of European Union (EU) fisheries management programmes, underscoring similar conclusions in numerous, previous analyses. In essence, the report reveals that neither the European Commission nor the EU Member States are protecting the health of our oceans for current or future generations. The Shark Alliance is highlighting the relevance of these findings for sharks - among the most vulnerable and threatened of all marine species – and calling for immediate improvements.
Commenting on the report, Uta Bellion, Director of the 44-member strong Shark Alliance, said, "The issues spotlighted in the report - poor reporting of catches, lack of sanctions for infringements, and excess fishing capacity - are all directly relevant to sharks. To make matters worse, overfishing continues legally on most European shark populations, many of which are in danger of extinction."
The Shark Alliance has proposed fixes for these pressing problems as part of a Community Plan of Action for Sharks and is eagerly anticipating the Commission’s long-overdue first draft of such a plan later this week. In addition, the Commission has recently proposed far-reaching changes to combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing.
"Today’s report serves to emphasise that proposed IUU measures must be promptly adopted and rigorously enforced," Bellion added.
The Report from the European Court of Auditors - Special Report (No 7/2007) on the control, inspection and sanction systems relating to the rules on conservation of Community fisheries resources - can be viewed at http://eca.europa.eu.
The Shark Alliance is a coalition of conservation, fishing, diving, and scientific organisations dedicated to improving European Union shark fishing policies.