European Commission adopts report on the implementation of the updated shark finning Regulation
15. April 2016
The European Commission today adopted a report on the implementation of the EU’s shark finning Regulation.
Based on information provided by EU Member States, the report concludes that no systematic shark finning – the removal of fins and the discarding of the carcasses at sea – is taking place in EU waters or by EU vessels. In the few cases where Member States identified infringements during their inspections, infractions were generally minor.
While shark finning had already been illegal under the EU’s shark finning Regulation from 2003, the Regulation was amended in 2013 to introduce a stricter “fins-naturally-attached” policy that prohibits all EU vessels and all vessels fishing in EU waters from removing sharks’ fins on board prior to landing the fish. The amendment also revoked the possibility for Member States to issue special permits for on-board processing of sharks and made it easier for Member States to control and enforce the finning ban.
Under EU rules, Member States have to submit annual reports on their implementation of the amended Regulation. In particular, they have to report the number of landings of sharks by their fleets; the total landings by species and by port; the number, date and place of the inspections they carried out; and the number and nature of cases of non-compliance they detected. Today’s report by the Commission draws upon this information.
In total, 14 out of 23 coastal Member States submitted full reports in both 2013 and 2014. This includes all countries that had in the past issued special permits for the on-board processing of sharks.
The Commission will continue to monitor the situation and the economic consequences for Member States’ fleets that arise from the implementation of the Regulation. The Commission will also continue to actively promote the fins-naturally-attached policy at the international level to work towards achieving a more level playing field for EU vessels also in international waters. These efforts are gaining traction: the number of countries supporting such a policy in international fora has significantly increased over the last years.
REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL
on the operation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1185/2003 on the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels, as amended by Regulation (EU) No 605/2013, and on the international developments in this field