European Shark Week
European Shark Week 2011 aims to raise public awareness and create citizen engagement across Europe in order to obtain the support of European Union (EU) Fisheries Ministers for the implementation of the 2009 Community Plan of Action for Sharks (CPOA), and in particular, for strengthening the EU shark finning ban.
Why this is important:
The EU, through its member states’ fishing fleets, is responsible for significant shark mortality throughout the world. The EU also has a dominant role in the development of international fisheries policies, exercising considerable influence in regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), the United Nations General Assembly and in many developing countries through its fisheries partnership agreements. The current EU Regulation banning shark ‘finning’ is among the weakest in the world.
In April 2006, The Pew Charitable Trusts began a campaign to strengthen European fishing regulations and achieve science-based conservation of sharks. Pew founded the Shark Alliance, a coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to science-based management and conservation of sharks. The Shark Alliance has over 100 member groups including conservation NGOs, divers’ networks, anglers’ organisations and aquariums.
The campaign won a major victory in February 2009 when the EU Commission adopted the Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for the conservation and management of sharks. We are now working to insure that the Action Plan is translated into concrete policy measures such as fishing limits in line with scientific advice and the precautionary principle, protection of endangered species and a strengthening of the EU finning ban.
Achieving such policy measures, however, will only be obtained through persistent public pressure and by increasing public awareness of the plight of sharks, and particularly of the wasteful practice of shark finning. This is why, in 2007, the Shark Alliance decided to support a yearly week of events to educate people about the plight of sharks and show politicians the level of public support for the protection of these animals.
More than two years after EU fishery ministers endorsed a sound Action Plan, there is still much important “unfinished business”. Several targeted shark fisheries are continuing without catch limits, many shark and ray species are woefully under-protected, and the EU finning ban still has huge loopholes that make it possible to fin sharks without detection or punishment.
Last year’s European Shark Week showed Members of the European Parliament the level of support across the EU for a complete ban on the removal of shark fins at sea, leading to the European Parliament passing a Resolution supporting this call. The European Commission will, this autumn, issue a proposal for a revised finning Regulation. We need to urge EU Fisheries Ministers to back this position when they, with the Parliament, consider the revised Regulation.
Aims and Objectives
To raise awareness of the plight of sharks across Europe, engage the public to get more involved and motivate decision makers to achieve better shark conservation policies.
In particular to gather signatures on a petition with other demonstrations of public concern calling on EU Fisheries Ministers to fulfil the commitments of the EU Shark Action Plan through:
- A complete ban on removing shark fins at sea without exceptions
- Shark and ray catch limits based on scientific advice and the precautionary approach
- EU and national protection for endangered shark and ray species
Martin Clark & Irene Kingma
Pew Charitable Trusts
European Shark Week, from the 15th to 23rd October 2011, proved to be one of the most successful shark weeks to date. We had more aquariums, groups, and individuals taking part than ever before and we welcomed two new countries,…
On the 15th of October, the Shark Alliance launched the fifth European Shark Week by calling on European Union (EU) fisheries ministers to protect sharks from overexploitation and finning - the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and…
We recently saw a clear illustration of why EU fisheries ministers need to fulfill the commitments of the EU Shark Plan and provide protection for endangered shark species. Despite EU rules to protect it, an illegally caught rare porbeagle shark…
An online petition calling on ministers to fulfill the commitments of the European Shark Plan and close the loopholes in the finning regulation is now live. http://www.sharkalliancepetition.org Although European Shark Week (15 to 23 October 2011) is at least two…