EU restricts shark fisheries

By

Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
December 15, 2009

The EU Council of Fisheries Ministers voted on Tuesday to end all fishing for porbeagle sharks and reduce the spurdog shark quota by 90 percent, decisions applauded by the environmental community, including the Shark Alliance.

“These dramatic  reductions in spurdog and porbeagle quotas amount to a solid performance on the first big test of the new EU Plan of Action for Sharks,” said Sonja Fordham, EU shark policy director for the Pew Environment Group and the Shark Alliance. “Ending fisheries for critically endangered porbeagle and spurdog will allow European populations to recover while enhancing the EU’s ability to promote conservation of the species on a global scale.”
 
Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the UK all showed public support for the decision to protect the fisheries. Fordham said the plan is to move to a zero TAC for spurdog next year.

The EU also proposed that porbeagle and spurdog sharks be listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at the Conference of the Parties in March 2010. 

“We hope to bring other species into the TACs and quota process,” said Fordham. “The hammerhead and mako are both under quota. Hammerhead are particularly depleted in many areas and considered globally endangered by the IUCN. Makos are overfished in the Atlantic, and the EU has committed to reduce fishing pressure. Blue sharks and the bigeye thresher are also particularly vulnerable.”

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