Support the EU citizens' initiative "Stop Finning - Stop the Trade" for an EU-wide trade ban on loose shark fins.
Millions and millions of sharks die every year. Their population numbers have been in decline for decades - with far-reaching consequences. A good ¼ of all species are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and many are already extinct.
There are many reasons for this. Starting with the by-catch problem, environmental pollution or the increasingly obvious effects of climate change. The main reason, however, still lies in targeted fishing. Here, it is not the entire animal that is on the catch list, but primarily the valuable fins. To save space on the ships, the fins are cut off and the mutilated, often still living sharks are thrown back into the sea.
The fins are then traded on from their fishing grounds, mainly to be marketed as a delicacy in shark fin soup or as a panacea in traditional Chinese medicine.
Europe is also involved in this trade, whether by catching and processing sharks itself or as a central transshipment point for fins from around the world.
Voluntary measures to restrict fishing are not to be expected. On the contrary, demand for the coveted fins is increasing. And where there is demand, there is profit.
The only viable option lies in appropriate legislation.
The first steps in this direction have already been taken in the EU since 2013. The "Fins Naturally Attached" regulation prohibits the storage, transhipment and landing of any loose shark fins on EU vessels. This should ban the cruel practice of shark finning and achieve a general decrease in European shark fishing.
The reality, however, is different. Although there was a brief decline in catches, the targeted marketing of shark meat quickly brought them back to their original levels. As soon as the animals are landed, they can still legally have their fins removed. And as long as this and the trade in loose fins is allowed, Europe will continue to be one of the main transshipment centres.
There is also the problem of illegal trade in CITES species in Europe. Without genetic analyses, it is almost impossible to determine which shark species the detached fins come from. As soon as the entire animal has to be transported, this difficulty disappears.
This is exactly where the EU citizens' initiative "Stop Finning - Stop the Trade" comes in.
The aim is to extend the "Fins Naturally Attached" regulation and thus ban the complete import, transit & export of loose fins.
With the achievement of the necessary 1 million signatures from at least 7 EU countries, the European Commission is obliged to negotiate a corresponding amendment to the law. If the extension is approved, the trade in fins will suddenly become unprofitable. A drastic decline in European and worldwide shark fishing is to be expected as a result. After all, who would want to transport a 500 kg shark across Europe just for two pairs of fins!
All eligible EU citizens can vote directly here until 31.1.2022: https://eci.ec.europa.eu/012/public/