As the United Nations’ fisheries body looks back at ten years of slow progress under their International Plan of Action for Sharks (IPOA), the Shark Alliance is urging European Union (EU) Member States to ensure implementation of the EU’s contribution to the IPOA – the EU Plan of Action for Sharks -- and to encourage other countries to step up shark conservation efforts on a global scale. The IPOA will be discussed today in the first session of the biennial meeting of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Committee on Fisheries.
“A decade after the world’s fishing nations agreed an international action plan for conserving sharks, the vast majority of these slow growing species remain grossly under-protected and in decline,” said Sonja Fordham, Shark Alliance Policy Director who addressed the Committee today. “The FAO Fisheries Committee meeting provides a platform for member nations to revitalise their pledges to ensure the long-term health of shark populations.”
Ten years ago, in response to growing concern over depletion of the world’s shark populations, governments of the FAO adopted the Shark IPOA and with it pledged to produce shark conservation plans for their waters and fishing regions. Until last month, the EU was part of the majority of FAO members not following through on these commitments. The European Commission released its Shark Action Plan in early February. The Czech Republic, current holder of the EU Presidency, aims to shepherd an official Shark Plan response through the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers by late April.
“We urge all EU Member States to recognise the global importance of strengthening EU shark fishing policies and to actively promote implementation of the new EU Shark Plan, beginning with closing loopholes in the EU finning ban. The Plan’s recent release also brings a golden opportunity for the EU to inspire other FAO member countries to live up to their shark conservation promises,” continued Fordham..
Actions proposed in the EU Shark Plan include setting catch limits according to scientific advice and improving the EU’s weak ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea). The Plan’s success depends largely on related actions and reactions from EU Member States, including the major shark fishing nations of Spain, Portugal, France and the UK.
Mona Samari, +44 (0) 7515 828 939,
TheShark Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 conservation, scientific and recreational organisations, was formed in 2006 to promote the development of a sound, science-based EU Shark Plan.
TheShark Allianceis tracking EU countries’ positions and actions with respect to the EU Shark Plan through an EU Member State Challenge:http://www.sharkalliance.org/challenge
TheShark Alliancewas initiated, and is coordinated, by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.