South West MEP Graham Watson will mark the beginning of European Shark Week (October 9-17) by signing a European Parliament Written Declaration that pledges his support to end the practice of shark ‘finning’ in the EU.
Although rules already exist to protect sharks, loopholes mean that every year millions of sharks have their fins sliced off before being thrown back into the sea. Euro-MPs will soon review the legislation and Graham wants to tighten it up.
He told the Devon Week: “Shark finning is a wasteful and often cruel practice. It not only affects shark populations, but also fish lower down the aquatic pecking order that rely on sharks to ensure they don’t become dinner for larger fish!
“Sharks play an important role in the ocean’s eco-system, and if populations are allowed to decrease because of finning the fishing industry will be put at further risk.”
Some EU countries, including the UK, already operate stricter rules on finning although the EU’s are touted as being some of the weakest in the world. Graham wants to see a harmonized approach.
“All Europeans have a share in the wealth of our seas. It is unfair that some countries do more to protect fish stocks than others, so I will be pushing for strong, common rules when proposals come before the European Parliament,” he said.