Shark finning is banned completely in the European Union as of last Saturday. Oceana, an advocacy group working to protect the world’s oceans, announced last week that the EU had finally closed a loophole around shark finning that had stood since 2003 — a decade after the EU first placed a ban on the practice.
As The Inquisitr has previously reported, a study released in March by American and Canadian scientists showed that as many as 100 million sharks a year are being killed in the world’s oceans — a rate of slaughter that could lead to the extinction of multiple shark species.
At that time, Canada’s Dalhousie University, which participated in the research, said that commercial shark fishing — including the gruesome practice of shark finning — was responsible for the majority of the slaughter. Finning is the practice of cutting off the shark’s fins to sell for soup and then throwing the shark back in the ocean to die a slow death from blood loss.
Despite the EU’s 2003 shark finning ban, member states had previously allowed European nations to issue a special permit that allowed commercial vessels to fin the sharks as long as the practice was performed onboard the ships. As a result, Spanish and Portuguese vessels continued to fin sharks offshore where the numbers caught couldn’t be easily monitored.
In an Oceana statement, the group said:
“The EU catches sharks in the Atlantic, Indian, Mediterranean, and Pacific Oceans. It is the largest shark fishing power in the world (with 17% of reported shark catches in 2009), and is the largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and mainland China. In closing these loopholes, the European Union effectively closes a major supply of shark fins, diminishing the shark fin market worldwide.”
A Reuters report said that the EU previously caught one-third of the shark fins sold to Hong Kong, the world center of the fin trade.
The Shark Alliance, another advocacy group which fought for the ban, had announced the successful vote on the shark finning ban last month. At that time, they noted that the shark finning ban wouldn’t come into effect until seven days after being published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Here is video about an earlier shark finning ban in Taiwan:
Here is a video which shows the practice of shark finning:
It probably isn’t difficult to see why many people fought to get the shark finning banned.
[shark finning top photo by Eliro via Shutterstock]