European Union officials propose stronger finning ban, sign UN migratory shark initiative

Two pieces of good news for European sharks were announced yesterday.  The European Union signed the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding for sharks. This MOU was established last year to support the conservation of seven shark species which regularly migrate between national boundaries, a list which includes great whites and whale sharks.

Also, the European Commission introduced a proposal to close some loopholes in the existing European Union ban on shark finning at sea. If the proposed amendment passes, any European Union fishing vessel anywhere on Earth would need to land sharks with their fins attached. This amendment faces strong opposition from Spain, the third largest shark fishing nation in the world, but is strongly supported by scientists and conservationists.  The debate is expected to least several months, and we’ll be sure to let you know how you can help when it reaches its next phase.

“Today the EU has taken two major steps for sharks that demonstrate continued progress in European policy and offer new hope for safeguarding these vulnerable species on a global scale,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, who is attending the CMS meeting. “We call on the EU Council and Parliament to promptly adopt the European Commission‟s finning ban proposal and encourage all fishing nations to fully engage in ensuring CMS shark conservation initiatives succeed.”