22 November, 2012

Today, the European Parliament voted to acknowledge the need to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning, the practice of slicing off a sharks fins and discarding the body at sea. After years of debate, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly (566-47) in favor of a report endorsing a proposal by the European Commission to require that fins be left naturally attached to all sharks that are brought to port. The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), applauds the European Parliament for joining them in their work to actively address shark conservation issues, and their attempts to curb and eliminate the practice of shark finning in and around European waters and worldwide.

"Parliament's emphatic vote today acknowledges the need for shark conservation and is a major milestone in fisheries regulation reform," said Christopher Chin, COARE's executive director. "We heartily look forward to the adoption and implementation of a final 'fins-naturally-attached' rule which will directly impact exploitative practices."

Every year, up to 73 million sharks are killed, tens of millions for their fins alone. The fins are used for shark fin soup, a luxury dish sometimes served at Chinese weddings and banquets. This soup has grown in popularity, increasing consumer demand for shark fins and contributing to the decimation of shark populations worldwide. As a result of these fishing pressures, one-third of open ocean sharks are already threatened with extinction.

Christopher Chin
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