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Shark landing at the port in Vigo. (Photo: Puerto de Vigo)

Shipowners fear huge losses due to shark fin policy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) warns that if ratified the proposal from the European Commission (EC) to ban shark fin processing on board and implement the policy of fins partially attached to the body, there will be a decrease in the crew members’ safety, product quality and the boat stowage capacity.

The Confederation argues that trade could be hindered, the health risk could be increased and large economic losses could be generated to companies and workers.

The Community initiative will be voted to approve by the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday 22 November in Strasbourg.

Cepesca expects the EP values the socio-economic impact of this ban that does not advance in the fight against finning (cutting off the fins and throwing the maimed body overboard), as it is established that the Community fleet does not incur in this practice.

The organization insists that there are less harmful alternatives that would ensure compliance with the ban on finning.

Cepesca Secretary General, Javier Garat, and the president of the Organization of longliners from A Guarda, Joaquin Cadilla, explained MEPs the serious economic and social consequences that the approval of the European proposal to ban shark fin processing on board would have and try to force the catches with fins partially attached to the body.

Garat estimated losses for the Spanish and Portuguese fleets would total EUR 9 million a year. And that figure could rise to EUR 14 million when taking into account the loss of product quality.

In addition, the measure will mean losses of EUR 22,000 per boat and trip, and would jeopardize the profitability and viability of the 186 community longliners catching sharks.

Cadilla, meanwhile, regretted that "the EC makes its fleet run the risk of disappearing to cover up their inability to make the finning ban to be extended to the rest of world fleets."

Some of the alternative measures proposed by Cepesca are:

  • The requirement to land bodies and fins on the same port;
  • The elimination of the special permits for the fresh product fleet;
  • The authorisation of special permits for freezer vessels as long as they use a tracking mechanism to ensure the correlation between the landed bodies and fins;
  • The 100 per cent control of landings and the implementation of a Statistical Document Programme in all the Regional Fisheries Organizations (RFOs) for the trade of shark fins.

Related article:

- EP will issue a statement on shark finning

By Analia Murias


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