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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

EU fishery chief promises to save threatened sharks

No legal changes to be made until 2010? This is why we cannot depend on governments and organisations to initiate change. They talk and talk then take so long! We need to take it upon ourselves and just stop eating shark fin now.
EU fishery chief promises to save threatened sharks
Thu Feb 5, 2009 10:52am EST, Jeremy Smith,

BRUSSELS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Europe's fisheries chief pledged on Thursday to tighten hunting controls for sharks, under threat from chronic overfishing and the practice of slicing high-value fins off one of the world's most vulnerable predators.

"Humans are now a far greater threat to sharks than they ever were to us," he told a news conference, adding that EU ministers would discuss the plan in April but no legal changes could probably be expected before 2010.

"Sharks and their close cousins, skates and rays, are more vulnerable to overfishing than other fish because their reproductive cycles are so long. Once stocks have collapsed it may take many decades for them to recover," he said.

Shark fertility rates are very low and they become sexually mature only late in life. The spurdog shark has a gestation period of two years.


Since the mid-1980s, shark numbers have come under increasing pressure from fishermen lured by soaring demand and high prices.

They are hunted mainly for their fins, to make shark fin soup, a traditional Asian dish: each fin can fetch up to 1,000 euros in Hong Kong, the world's main market for fins.

In 2003, the EU banned 'finning', where fins are cut off the living shark and the low-value carcass dumped at sea, though environment groups say the prohibition is not strict enough.

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