Today, the European Commission has published its Communication in response to the citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Stop Finning — Stop the trade’. The campaign aims to end international trade of loose shark. In response to the campaign, the Commission will launch an impact assessment by the end of the year to measure the effectiveness and contribution of EU rules against finning. The Commission will aim to better enforce the EU’s already strong traceability measures and to improve data relating to imports and exports of shark products. Finally, the Commission will aim at enhancing the role of the EU in the global fight against shark finning. Europêche believes that the current framework in Europe guarantees that all shark catches are legal and sustainable. Even if the policy is functioning well, there is always room for improvement and for that reason the sector welcomes the decision to assess the situation in depth before taking any legislative measure.
• Blue sharks are sustainably managed by international fisheries management bodies (RFMOs) and protected thanks to strong fins-attached policies and catch documentation schemes.
• Blue sharks harvested by Europeans are in healthy conditions across the oceans and are not subject to illegal trade.
The European fisheries sector recognises the work of CITES concerning marine species to ensure that the international trade does not threaten their survival. However, it is important to respect the work and instruments already defined and implemented for this purpose by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO), Governments and the sector itself. Species such as mako shark are sufficiently protected and regulated so as to guarantee its sustainable exploitation and legal trade, rendering unnecessary additional CITES measures. This was highlighted by the president of Europêche, Javier Garat, during his speech at the commemoration of the World Wildlife Day 2019, which took place today at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva.
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche opposes the inclusion of shortfin mako shark in Appendix II of CITES which would severely curtail the international trade of the species. Particularly, the sector rejects the EU initiative to co-sign a Mexican proposal for this purpose. Europêche believes that this initiative lacks both scientific and legal basis in light of the strong regulatory framework within the context of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and other Regional Agreements, the biological characteristics of the species as well as the absence of illegal trade related to these stocks. Consequently, the species is sufficiently protected and regulated so as to ensure its sustainable exploitation and legal trade.