The Shark Alliance is pleased to report that, at their 15-16 December meeting, the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers accepted the European Commission’s science-based proposals to maintain Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for porbeagle and spurdog sharks at zero. This decision comes despite pressure from the fishing industry to once again allow landings from these Critically Endangered populations.
The Shark Alliance also welcomes the ministers’ agreement to continue existing prohibitions on take of several other Threatened species, such as the common skate and undulate ray. The Council lowered catch limits for other species of skates and rays in some areas, but reductions were less precautionary than those proposed by the Commission.
The Shark Alliance has long promoted EU shark and ray fishing limits based on scientific advice and the precautionary approach, and full protection for endangered European shark and ray species. Shark Alliance member groups actively underscored these requests before their respective ministers in October 2011 during the annual European Shark Week.
While generally pleased with the outcomes from the December Council meeting, the Shark Alliance regrets that their calls to extend protections for Threatened common skate, undulate ray guitarfish, and white skate to the Mediterranean have yet to be heeded.