As reported in the forums, the EU has closed a loophole that allowed crews with Special Fishing Permits (SFPs) to continue landing shark fins without the carcass. Up until now, EU vessels have been estimated to be responsible for 27% of the fins in the Hong Kong markets. The widespread use of SFPs by some countries’ vessels, especially Spain and Portugal, has meant that the earlier 2003 ban on finning has not been effective.
At the same time, the EU council has issued a statement from the 27 member states citing finning as contributing to a serious decline in shark numbers. Perhaps predictably, both Spain and Portugal have registered protests about the changes. (Image from Shutterstock)