A ban on shark finning in UK waters is to be introduced by thegovernment, ministers will announce this week. The practice ofshark finning while often still alive and dumping them back into the seas has been heavily criticised bycampaigners, and also blamed for bringing many shark species to the edge ofextinction.
Shark finning was banned by the EU in 2003 but loopholes in the legislation have allowed fishing boats in UK waters to continue finning. It is estimated that hundredsof tonnes of shark fin have been landed since the European ban wasintroduced.
Following the passing of an early day motion in the House of Commons, theMPs have apparently demanded that “on no occasion should the UK government approve anyderogation from the shark finning legislation in order to allowUK-registered vessels to remove shark fins at sea”.
The government hasagreed to follow the example set by MPs, a decision that will be warmlyreceived by wildlife groups, who have long campaigned for the UK tointroduce a ban on finning. Finning shark species is officially banned by the EU, however, aderogation scheme allows member states to grant special permits thatallow their fishing vessels to remove shark fins at sea provided thequantity of fins on board is kept below 5% of the weight of sharkbodies.
Now the UK fisheries ministry has decided to halt the issuing ofthese permits, a move that will ensure the UK fishing fleet complieswith the original intent of the EU finning ban – that sharks are landedwith their fins naturally attached. It is said that the move should also ensure that fishermen catch far fewer sharks in UKwaters and will be seen by campaigners as a significant step to helpprevent many shark species being driven to extinction.
See The Guardian for the complete story.