Imagine you are caught, your arms and legs are cut off, whereupon you, mutilated in this way, are abandoned in a place where you perish miserably. All of this happens with full awareness. A horror show that comes from a particularly macabre thriller? Not at all. Because this is what happens to around 273 million sharks every year. The fins of the captured sharks are cut off and the rest of the animal body is thrown back into the sea. During this procedure, the animals are fully conscious and, unable to swim, sink to the sea floor, where they bleed to death or suffocate. This way of transporting the shark fins is particularly space-saving. But why is this practiced?
Shark fins are still considered a delicacy, especially at Asian weddings, company parties and birthdays. So, it’s a profitable business. For example, the fins of the ocean shark have a value of around € 600,–/kg. The shark fins, which consist of cartilage tissue, are completely tasteless. In addition, they are also used in traditional Asian medicine. They are considered a miracle cure for erectile dysfunction and cancer. Clear results of science speak against this. Not only do they not represent a cure for the diseases mentioned, but they are also contaminated with methylmercury, which can be dangerous for humans even in small doses. Therefore, most of the fins are sold in a small area of East and Southeast Asia, such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. So, if it only concerns the Asian region, why should we deal with the subject?
The business with the fins is also a lucrative one in Europe. Millions of sharks are also caught here every year, with Spain standing out as the leading producer of unprocessed shark fins. In 2013 there was an EU regulation banning finning on fishing vessels, which stipulated that the whole shark had to be landed, not just the fins. As a result, the catch of the blue shark went to 44,703 tons for a short time. However, in 2016 it was again 53,000 tons. Now, in addition to the fins, the blue shark’s shark meat was also marketed, for which there were no buyers before. But not only the blue shark is caught. That is why over half of the shark species found in the Mediterranean are considered endangered. The main reason is overfishing. The EU regulation, which was supposed to protect the sharks from being hunted for their fins, was in vain, because it is often not possible to determine whether fins or shark meat is traded, because in many countries around the world there is no indication of whether it is unprocessed or processed parts of the fish, which makes it almost impossible to trace which parts are transported. In addition, there are hardly any controls.
If shark protection is to really have a chance in Europe, the trade in shark fins from Europe must be prevented in a meaningful way. That is why the European Citizens‘ Initiative demands: The fins must always stay on the shark – even when exporting!
The previous “Fins Naturally Attached” regulation states: “Sharks are not a traditional European food, but they are a necessary element of the European marine ecosystems.” It is time to finally take consistent measures in Europe for the protection of sharks and ours Seize oceans! We therefore ask you to support this opportunity to adapt the legislation in the European Union and to better protect our seas. That is why the European citizens‘ initiative “Stop Finning – Stop the Trade” was launched. If one million votes are obtained by the end of January 2022, the European Commission is required to be heard and the Citizens‘ Committee can present its initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament. The European Commission will then give an answer on how to proceed within three months, which in the best-case scenario leads to the adoption of the proposal and a change in the law.
Let’s not let this chance pass by and sign the EU citizens‘ initiative “Stop Finning – Stop the Trade” for the protection of sharks and the marine balance.