Applaud European Parliament for Closing Loopholes in Shark Finning Laws

Target: Members of the European Parliament

Goal: Support decision to fully enforce shark finning bans

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have recently voted to close loopholes that still exist in European Union (EU) laws aimed at the prohibition of shark finning since the practice continues to thrive legally for those fishing vessels able to acquire special permits.

The MEPs’ vote hopes to end this deadly practice once and for all, finally fully enforcing the ban on shark finning introduced in the EU in 2003. Commend the Members of the European Parliament for this important decision.

Despite the 2003 ban, conservation groups have continued the fight against shark finning in Europe, trying to close loopholes in the law that allow fishing vessels with Special Fishing Permits (SFPs) to continue pillaging the ocean’s sharks. The European Union, in fact, ranks second on the world stage for its global catch of sharks, following only Indonesia.

Data shows that Spanish and Portuguese ships have received the largest number of SFPs between 2004 and 2010. Up until 2009, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Lithuania also distributed SFPs to fishing vessels.

Shark finning is so profitable because of the return a fin can earn in Asian markets—$20-$90 per kilogram. In most cases, the fins are severed from the shark at sea because it is much easier to store fins onboard than full animal carcasses. The shark—often still alive—is thrown back into the sea finless, left to drown. It is quite timely, then, that the EU Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks has pledged to take appropriate action to conserve shark species.

Pending the endorsement by the European Commission and EU fisheries ministers, the EU should soon be imposing stricter regulations to save these hunted creatures. Commend the Members of the European Parliament for voting to take action on this important issue.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

The recent vote in favor of closing loopholes in the European Union’s laws prohibiting shark finning is a huge step in favor of preserving these hunted creatures. Currently, Special Fishing Permits allow specific European vessels to continue this deadly practice. Ending this system will finally allow the EU to fully enforce the ban on shark finning issued in 2003.

The EU is currently second in the world in shark finning, following only Indonesia. Spanish and Portuguese vessels have received the largest number of SFPs, and up until 2009, the UK, Germany, and Lithuania also distributed permits.

The cruelty of shark finning is twofold. First, the fin is severed from the live animal; then, the live shark is thrown back into the water and left to drown. All of this is done for the high returns expected in the Asian market: $20-$90 per kilogram.

Thank you for voting to end this atrocious practice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Joi via Flickr

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2 Comments

  1. Shark finning must end globally.

  2. Aileen Cheetham says:

    Can you help me send the letterThanking EU. How does it work on your site, cant see how to send it

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