BRUSSELS, Nov. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire — The European Parliament voted today to strengthen the European Union’s ban on shark finning, the practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea. 566 members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to close a loophole by requiring that fins be left naturally attached to all sharks landed by EU fishing vessels globally and by all vessels landing sharks in the EU.
Uta Bellion of the Pew Environment Group issued the following statement in response:
“The parliament’s vote is a major milestone in ending the wasteful practice of shark finning. We profoundly thank Commissioner Damanaki for her farsighted and ambitious proposal, the hundreds of members of the European Parliament who have supported it, and most of all, the thousands of citizens in the European Union who encouraged them to do so.
“Fisheries ministers from throughout the European Union have already given a clear indication that they support the commission’s approach by a large majority. We now look to them to accept the parliament’s deliberations and enact the regulation without delay.”
Previously, the EU regulation that banned finning included an exception under which fishermen with permits could remove shark fins on board and then land the fins separately from the bodies. With compliance monitored through a complicated process of measuring and comparing the weights of the fins with the weight of the whole sharks, there was significant room for undetected finning.