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June 6, 2013

HSI Applauds Final Step in Agreement to Close Loopholes in EU Shark Finning Ban

Humane Society International/Europe

  • The European Union has finally closed the loopholes in the EU shark finning ban. Vanessa Mignon/www.vanessamignon.com

BRUSSELS—The Council of the European Union has adopted a proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1185/2003 on the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels. Adoption of the proposal was a final formality in the agreement to close loopholes in the EU’s shark finning ban and follows the Committee of Permanent Representatives’ decision in December 2012 to accept all of the European Parliament’s amendments. Ministerial sign-off had been delayed for several months due to a legal translation issue, which has now been resolved.   

“We are overjoyed that the European Union has finally closed the loopholes in the EU shark finning ban,” says HSI/EU Director Joanna Swabe, Ph.D. “Humane Society International has been campaigning for several years for the EU to adopt a ‘fins naturally attached’ policy without exception. We are delighted that the Commission, Parliament and a majority of EU Member States recognised that the existing legislation was impossible to enforce and has taken the necessary steps to protect sharks.”

HSI works around the globe to ban the practice of shark finning and to reduce the demand for shark fins. Countries including Brazil, Taiwan, Venezuela and the United States have adopted fins naturally attached measures.

With the adoption of the fins naturally attached policy, the EU now joins this growing list. The policy is the only way to ensure that the fins of sharks are not removed on board vessels and the rest of the animal discarded at sea, sometimes while still alive. It will not only more effectively prevent shark finning by EU vessels, but will also constitute a major contribution by the EU to the global effort to eradicate shark finning by advocating fins attached policies in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year in oceans around the world primarily to meet the demand for shark fin soup. The EU is one of the largest exporters of shark fins to Asia, despite the fact that one-third of European shark and ray species and one-third of open-ocean sharks are classified as “threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Ends

Media contact: Wendy Higgins: +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsi.org

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