Today the Shark Alliance launches its "EU Member State Challenge", an exercise in tracking and publicising countries' activities with regard to the European Commission's new Plan of Action for the Conservation of Sharks. The Challenge aims to encourage EU Member States to actively support prompt implementation of the Shark Plan through a strong official response, or "Conclusions", to the Shark Plan from the Council of Ministers, expected in April.
"The EU Plan of Action for Sharks brings opportunities to vastly improve EU shark policies, but its success depends largely on reactions and actions of EU Member States," said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance. "We are hopeful that EU Member States will engage in the challenge and emerge as true champions of the sharks. Such proactive leadership is urgently needed to prevent further overfishing of shark populations and to save some species from extinction."
Throughout the period of the EU Member State Challenge, the Shark Alliance will collect information on the statements and actions of Member States regarding the EU Shark Plan and classify countries into several categories, ranging from "Potential Champion" to "On the Wrong Path". Member states can move between categories, depending on the information the Shark Alliance receives on their position. At the end of the Challenge, the Shark Alliance will announce the true shark champions and highlight those countries that are not helping sharks.
To be named a "shark champion", countries need to express support for prompt implementation of the EU Shark Plan, including proposed improvements to the EU finning ban, and support near zero catch limits for critically endangered sharks by 2010. Efforts to weaken the Council Conclusions or hamper implementation of the Shark Plan will result in the label, "hurting the sharks."
If the adoption of the Council Conclusions stays on track for late April, the Shark Alliance will release its findings during the Brussels Seafood Show (April 28-30).
Mona Samari, +44 (0) 7515 828 939
The Shark Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 conservation, scientific and recreational organizations, was formed in 2006 to promote the development of a sound science-based EU Shark Plan.
The Shark Alliance was initiated by 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. The objective of