The Shark Alliance is celebrating today's release of the European Commission's Plan of Action for the Conservation of Sharks which sets the stage for sweeping improvements in European Union (EU) shark fishing and protection policies.
The Plan aims to improve information about shark fisheries, end shark overfishing, pay special attention to threatened shark species, and close loopholes in the EU ban on shark finning (the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark's fins and discarding the body at sea). The EU Shark Plan includes actions at national, EU and international levels.
“The release of the long-awaited EU Shark Plan represents a great step forward for the conservation of sharks in European waters and beyond,” said Sonja Fordham, Shark Alliance Policy Director. “The Plan's commitments to science-based fishing limits, endangered species protection, and a stronger finning ban are essential to securing a brighter future for some of Europe's most vulnerable and neglected animals.”
EU Fisheries Ministers intend to agree “Council Conclusions” on the Plan at the April Fisheries Council meeting. The European Commission is responsible for developing regulations to tighten existing fishing rules, such as the finning ban and shark catch limits.
“The success of the EU Shark Plan depends on prompt, follow-up proposals from the Commission and cooperation from Member States in ensuring improvements are accepted and enforced,” added Fordham. “We urge all EU Fisheries Ministers to actively support timely implementation of the Shark Plan in line with scientific advice and the precautionary approach.”