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EU Bans Slaughter of Sharks for Fins

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  • Rita Fazio
    From: adam @ wetlands-preserve.org (remove spaces) Top Science and Health News ... EU Bans Slaughter of Sharks for Fins Reuters Jul 4 2003 12:26PM BRUSSELS
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2003
      From: adam @ wetlands-preserve.org (remove spaces)

      Top Science and Health News

      EU Bans Slaughter of Sharks for Fins
      Jul 4 2003 12:26PM
      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has outlawed the practice of slaughtering sharks for their fins, which are then sold to lucrative
      Asian markets where shark fin soup is a delicacy, according to an official regulation posted on Friday.

      European fishing fleets have become major exporters of fins to Hong Kong, the most significant market in Asia.

      Shark meat is of little value as it is considered tough to eat, and the practice of "finning," hacking the fins off living sharks and dumping them back in the sea, has been blamed for pushing some
      species close to extinction.

      "The practice of 'shark finning'...may contribute to the excessive mortality of sharks to such an extent that many stocks of sharks are depleted, and their future sustainability may be endangered," the EU
      said in its Official Journal.

      Shark fin soup is widely served at Chinese wedding banquets as a symbol of generosity and wealth, and as many as 40 sharks can be
      killed to supply each wedding. In some restaurants in the region, a bowl of the soup can cost $100.

      The EU rules will come into force in 60 days and aim to stop fishermen hacking off sharks' fins and dumping the fish in the sea, where they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die.

      "Measures to restrict or prevent the further development of the practice of shark finning are urgently required, and the removal of
      shark fins on board vessels should therefore be prohibited," read the regulation's text.

      The regulation applies to EU-registered ships as well as non-EU vessels that operate in EU waters and will prevent them from landing or selling shark fins that are removed on board.

      Fishermen will still be able to remove fins if they can prove that they are making efficient use of all shark parts by processing them separately on board, in which case the entire body will have to be accounted for.

      Environmentalists say around 100 million sharks are caught worldwide every year, mostly just for their fins.

      07/04/03 12:24 ET

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