The European Parliament voted to strengthen the European Union’s current ban on shark finning— the practice of catching a shark, removing its fins and dumping the animal back into the sea.. The original EU regulation included a loophole which allowed fishermen with permits to remove shark fins on board. 566 members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to require that fins be left naturally attached to all sharks landed. This would be effective on all 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.”
Shark fin consumption is most common in East Asia, typically in form of the popular and now, notorious, shark fin soup. According to marine conservation group WildAid, 95 percent of all shark fin is consumed within China.