Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shark Conservation: Spain willing to consider tougher regulations

In a recent meeting, held in Madrid between Spain's Minister of Environment and Fisheries and the international environmental organization Oceana, some positive steps were made regarding commercial shark fishing. Here are some of the key points:
  • Propose in ICCAT (the organization responsible for regulating tuna and shark fisheries in the Atlantic), via the European Commission, a prohibition on catches of all pelagic shark species, except the two species of highest commercial interest for the Spanish fleet: blue shark (Prionace glauca) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus).
  • For these two species, the Minister showed her willingness to accept the establishment of Total Allowable Catches (TACs), if recommended by scientists.
  • Lastly, Elena Espinosa also showed a willingness for the Ministry to implement a pilot project to study the viability of storing caught sharks with their fins attached in a natural way, without the fins first being separated from the body, on board Spanish longline vessels.
Now while there was some hemming on hawing on Spain's part later (requesting more data before moving forward on all points), it was encouraging. The "fins attached" approach taken by much of the new regulations being proposed recently puts pressure on shark fisheries to not try to circvumvent existing regulations regarding fins and carcasses and subtly promotes abandoning shark finning all together. (Read Oceana press release.)

1 comment:

Donna said...

It's great that you write about the good work Oceana are doing on this important issue. If you are interested in protecting sharks you might also want to know that it is European Shark Week this week (something that Oceana are really involved with in Spain too) To find out more check out our website: Please also support our petition calling for stronger conservation measures in Europe: