November 15, 2012
MEPs Show their Support for Sharks in Advance of Crucial Vote
by Joanna Swabe
As the European Parliament’s November plenary session looms large, MEPs have been showing their support for sharks by having their photograph taken next to our large shark banner.
The crucial and long-awaited vote on the European Commission’s proposal to close the loopholes in the EU shark finning ban is scheduled to take place on 22 November.
Although the practice of finning - slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea, sometimes while still alive - was banned in the European Union in 2003, the legislation is currently one of the weakest shark finning bans in the world.
Now all MEPs will finally have the chance to join the vast majority of EU Member States in voicing their support for the adoption of a fins attached policy in the EU without exception.
As UK MEP Chris Davies, shadow rapporteur on the shark finning report for the ALDE group, told our team in Brussels:
"This is the time to close the loopholes and make sure that shark finning comes to an end once and for all. We still have much to do to ensure the survival of shark species, but this will be a good first step."
MEPs from across both the whole political spectrum and various EU Member States have responded to our invitation to pose for photographs with a large shark banner bearing the text “the European Parliament can help end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning”. In so doing, they have shown their support for sharks and closing the loopholes in the EU ban.
It is heart-warming to see politicians respond so enthusiastically to our End Shark Finning campaign, an issue we know is important to the many tens of thousands of compassionate EU citizens, including more than 19,000 HSI supporters, who have sent messages to their MEPs asking them to vote in favour of increased shark protection.
We hope that this positive energy and interest will translate into political action and supportive MEPs will thwart the cynical and industry-driven attempts of a small minority of Members to undermine the Commission’s proposal by trying to preserve a derogation to allow freezer vessels to continue processing fins at sea.
Dr Joanna Swabe is director of HSI/Europe