Protecting sharks from a future perspective is possible – if the EU is active
Do sharks have a future? 100,000,000 sharks are killed each year for their meat and fins
Sharks are one of the most endangered groups of animals: all other shark species are endangered today. The reason is the destruction of their natural habitat and the trade in shark meat and fins, which kills more than one hundred million sharks every year. A new study shows that Europe has a major role to play in the unregulated trade in shark meat and shark fins. For this reason, Europe also plays an important role in the extinction of sharks. Therefore, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and OceanCare Marine and Ocean Protection are calling on EU member states to take major steps in the fall of the Czech Republic’s presidency of the EU Council for the Protection of Endangered Species. Sharks of the future. time is running out!
Over the past 50 years, the number of sharks in the high seas has decreased by about 70%. In every fifth of the coral reefs studied, sharks have become functionally extinct (that is, the degradation of a species is so marked that a species cannot survive on its own in the long term), with dire consequences for the ability of entire ecosystems to function. The major players in the global trade in shark meat and shark fin are Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. However, the role of EU countries as suppliers is greatly underestimated. Between 2003 and 2020, an average of 28% of shark fin shipments from EU member states, particularly from Spain, were delivered to these Asian markets. In absolute numbers, it was 10,465 tons per year. In 2020, the EU’s share of this supply was 45%!
This information comes from the IFAW report: Supply and Demand: The European Union’s Role in the Global Sharks Trade, which focuses on the role of EU member states in the global trade in shark fins and shark meat, and calls for immediate concrete action to protect it. these species.
This shop is run completely unregulated all over the world. “Of the shark species that are part of this trade, 70% are threatened with extinction. However, only 25% of these sharks are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which aims to regulate International trade so that no species becomes extinct due to international trade. In addition, if fins and meat are cut off, it is almost impossible to determine the type of shark. Andreas Dinkelmeyer, Campaigns and Communications Manager, IFAW Germany “This is how the fins of endangered shark species are sold,” explains Andreas Dinkelmeyer, Director of Campaigns and Communications, IFAW Germany along with those that come from common, non-threatened species.”
The prerequisite is that the trade of these species of sharks is strictly regulated. The European Union has already taken one important step in this regard and has proposed the inclusion of the Hammer family in Annex II of the upcoming CITES Conference of States Parties. This conference will take place in November 2022 during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Panama, the host country of the conference, has included the shark in the official logo of the conference and will apply for inclusion of the blue family (Carcharhinidae) in CITES.
The European Union, which always votes as a single bloc when voting on CITES, is hereby invited to assume its responsibility to protect sharks and support Panama’s application by signing it.
“Europe has a choice whether it wants to play a leading role in threatening and killing sharks or protecting them,” said Nicholas Entrop, president of Ocean Care International Cooperation. “We call on the government of the Czech Republic, as the future President of the Council of the European Union, to work towards a clear position of the European Union on the protection of sharks and thus help achieve great success at CITES.”
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