The Daily Mail newspaper has reported that the European Fisheries meeting in Brussels seems to be on its way to effectively ban the removal of shark fins whilst at sea within European Union (EU) waters or on EU registered boats. This will force fishing vessels to land “whole shark” which makes the catching of sharks much less profitable. At the same meeting, EU Fisheries ministers also sought support for a ban on the practice of discarding fish back into sea because they fail to meet qualifications or are commercially undesirable. It is estimated that EU nations combined account for the second-largest share of shark fin entering the trade, with 14 percent of the world’s catches and that half of the whitefish and 70 per cent of the flatfish caught by fisheries are thrown overboard again.
It was feared that French and Spanish fisheries ministers would object to the new policies, but this does not seem to have occurred. The proposals still need to go before the European Parliament before they become law.