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Sharks on Deck Next Week

Dec 18,2006 SACN


Sharks on Deck Next Week

EU to decide the fate of two imperiled shark species

Next week, through decisions regarding international trade and regional catch limits, the European union (EU) will decide the fate of two imperiled sharks species, spiny dogfish and porbeagle.

The Shark Alliance is urging all EU Member States to:


support adoption of Germany’s proposals to list spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and reduce proposed fishing limits for these species to levels in line with scientific advice.


The first action is aimed at restricting international trade in these sharks’ meat and fins while the second restricts the amount of these shark species EU vessels can take from the Northeast Atlantic.

To follow is a breakdown of events that will be taking place over the course of the week.

Monday 18th December: The European Commission (EC) CITES Scientific Review Group (SRG) will meet to discuss Germany’s proposals to restrict trade in spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks under CITES Appendix II.

The proposed action would set up safeguards to ensure that international trade in these vulnerable species is limited to sustainable levels.

The SRG provides the Commission with scientific advice on CITES issues. The Commission is assisted by the EC CITES Committee, composed of representatives from Member State Management Authorities and chaired by the Commission.

Tuesday 19th December: The EC CITES Committee, will meet to consider the advice from the SRG and agree on whether to adopt Germany’s spiny dogfish and porbeagle proposals and submit them to CITES on behalf of the EU.

Adoption by the EU is necessary for the proposals to advance to the Conference of the Parties to CITES in June 2007. The Parties to CITES meet about every two and a half years.

Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st: The EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council will meet to decide on the 2007 limits on catch of spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks from the Northeast Atlantic.

Both species have been seriously overfished in the Northeast Atlantic and are considered Critically Endangered in this region by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Scientists have advised no fishing on these populations.

The European Commission has instead proposed catch limits that are inconsistent with scientific advice and allow unsustainable, targeted fishing to continue.

“Next week’s decisions are crucial to the fate of the imperiled spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks. In the span of a few days, EU officials have the opportunity to begin the recovery of these key European shark species and to lead the world in ensuring their international trade is sustainable” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director of the Shark Alliance.

“We urge Member States to choose the responsible path toward conservation of these valuable yet vulnerable animals.”

The Shark Alliance will be watching as EU officials decide on these critical proposals. We will provide updates and comment at [here]

NOTE TO EDITORS:

The Shark Alliance is a coalition of more than 20 non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving European fishing policy.

Sharks are exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing and slow to recover from depletion because they generally grow slowly, mature late and produce few young.

Both spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks are included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Spiny dogfish are sought primarily for their meat. Fisheries generally target pregnant females resulting in severe population damage.

Porbeagle shark meat is also valuable, particularly in Europe.

Fins from both species are exported to Asia for use in shark fin soup.

CITES action would have no direct effect on EU fishing quotas for these species, but would require exporting countries to limit trade to levels that do not pose a threat to wild populations.

For further information please contact Sophie Hulme on 44 (0) 7973712869 or visit our website [here]



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