April 22, 2009
Pew Applauds New Senate Bill Mandating Shark Conservation as Europe Fisheries Ministers Respond to EU Shark Plan
"Sharks, the top predators in the marine environment, are rapidly disappearing from the world's oceans," said
The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 would strengthen the current U.S. ban on shark finning, removing loopholes that the fishing industry has exploited and mandating that any imported shark products come from countries that have equivalent conservation standards.
Shark finning is the practice of catching a shark at sea, slicing off its fins - which are prized in Asian food and alternative medicine markets - and then dumping the body alive or dead back into the ocean. The practice allows fishing boats to slice off and transport many hundreds of fins without hauling the less valuable shark carcasses and their meat back to shore. Shark fins can sell for as much as U.S.
The European Commission's Plan of Action for Sharks was published in
The ministers are expected to release a "Council Conclusions" document that would encourage and guide implementation of the Shark Plan and set related priorities. Strong conclusions have been a key goal of the Shark Alliance, a coalition coordinated by the Pew Environment Group of 70 conservation, scientific and recreational organizations, that advocates for sound EU shark policies.
"In February Europe sent a strong and united message that urgent action is needed, and now Congress is sending one as well," said Reichert. "Approximately 100 million sharks are being killed every year, with potentially enormous negative consequences for the global marine food chain. Every country that allows shark fishing will need to adopt strong conservation measures if sharks are to be saved."
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.
SOURCE Pew Environment Group