While the EU has begun to address over-exploitation by its fleet – including limiting fisheries for especially vulnerable shark species – it remains a global shark fishing power responsible for significant landings of predominantly unmanaged species. The EU does, however, have the capacity to improve management in its own waters and can also be influential within the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations who are responsible for regulating fisheries on the high seas.
Notable dates include:
- 2003 – EU bans shark finning
The EU adopts a regulation banning the finning of sharks (shark finning is defined as the removal of shark fins at sea and discarding of the carcass). However the regulation contains a loophole providing an opportunity for shark finning to continue undetected and unpunished.
- 2009 – EU shark management plan
The EU finally adopts the Community Plan of Action-Sharks (CPOA-shark). Reviewing the European shark finning regulation is noted as an action to be implemented without delay.
- 2013 – Fins naturally attached
The requirement to land sharks with their fins naturally attached finally comes into force in July 2013, establishing best-practice for the EU fleet worldwide, and representing the culmination of well over ten years work for the Shark Trust and our colleagues.
- 2014 and beyond…
The landscape of shark conservation has changed dramatically over the past decade; however management remains focused on a limited number of species. To prevent the collapse of further ‘commercial’ shark populations, science-based management is required now.