Decisions on EU Shark Fishing Quotas Have Global Implications

Decisions on EU Shark Fishing Quotas Have Global Implications

London — In the run-up to next week’s EU fishing quota negotiations, the Shark Trust is calling on the UK and other EU Fisheries Ministers to protect Critically Endangered spurdog and porbeagle sharks, in line with scientific advice.  The quota decisions come just three months before Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) debate EU proposals for spurdog and porbeagle trade limits.

“Continued conservation leadership from the UK is vital to secure groundbreaking European and international protections for two of our most endangered sharks,” said Ali Hood, Shark Trust Director of Conservation. “We urge all EU countries to agree to set EU spurdog and porbeagle fishing limits at zero for 2010.  Such decisive action is needed to save European populations of the particularly vulnerable shark species and to improve the chances for limiting their international trade.”

Scientists advising European fisheries managers have recommended ending all fishing of spurdog and porbeagle.  The UK has ended targeted porbeagle fishing, but maintains more than 40% of allowable EU catches of spurdog (nearly 1,500 tonnes total). At the last CITES Conference in 2007, the EU shark listing proposals were defeated partly due to arguments that the EU’s own spurdog and porbeagle fishing limits were inconsistent with scientific advice.

For more information, media interviews or B roll, please contact:

Mona Samari: +44 (0) 7515 828 939
email:  or

Ali Hood: +44 (0) 7855 386083

Notes to Editors:

Established in 1997, the Shark Trust is the UK registered charity which works to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks  through science, education, influence and action. The Shark Trust is: an effective and well respected advocate for sound shark management and protection; a founder member of the Shark Alliance; the Secretariat of the European Elasmobranch Association; and a membership organisation which provides a link between the public and the science community. The Trust works through cross-sectoral collaboration and where possible works with governments and industry to attain sustainable goals.

The Shark Alliance is a coalition of 76 conservation, scientific and recreational organizations dedicated to improving European shark fishing policies. The Shark Alliance was initiated and is coordinated by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-government organisation that is working to end overfishing in the world's oceans.

Most sharks and rays can be easily overfished because they grow slowly, mature late and produce few young. 

Porbeagle and spurdog sharks are included on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic.  

The International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommends prohibiting the landing of porbeagle shark and setting spurdog total allowable catch (TAC) limits at zero.

The EU Council of Fisheries Ministers meet December 14 and 15 to decide 2010 EU fishing limits.

Last December, the EU 2009 total allowable catches (TACs) for spurdog and porbeagle were set at 1,422t and 436t, respectively, despite European Commission proposals to set both TACs at zero.

France is home to the EU’s only targeted porbeagle fishery; French officials are opposing a zero TAC for the species.