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Secretary general, Javier Garat, criticized EU authorities due to their decision on shark finning. (Photo: FIS Stockfile)

Brussels 'forgoes' the fishing fleet that does not incur in finning

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Friday, November 23, 2012, 23:00 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) regretted that the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) "forgoes an easy target such as the Community longline fleet that does not incur in finning," which involves cutting the shark fins and dumping the maimed body into the sea.

For the Confederation, both entities surrendered to the pressure exercised by environmental organizations and supported the ban -without exceptions- on shark finning onboard fishing vessels of the European Union (EU).

Cepesca believes that NGOs have "forced" members of Parliament to vote in favour of the finning ban and to force the catch with fins partially attached to the body.

"We have attended a coward and irresponsible voting session because far from trying to put an end to shark finning in the world, a fleet that is an example of sustainability and that does not incur in finning and makes a comprehensive use of the 57,000 tonnes of shark that it captures a year is forgone and punished," regretted the general secretary of Cepesca, Javier Garat.

Global shark catches totalled about 800,000 tonnes and the European longline fleet catches only 7 per cent of that volume.

"The mafia activities of some organizations, which are misnamed environmentalists, guided by the Commissioner, misnamed of Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, have condemned the fisheries sector and the sharks," Garat argued.

For the leader, this measure "does not improve shark fisheries management" and keeps allowing "the finning practice in most of the world's fleets."

The organization estimates that the approval will mean a loss for the Spanish and Portuguese fleets of more than EUR 9 million annually, which would reach EUR 14 million if the loss of product quality is considered.

In addition, average losses are expected to reach EUR 22,000 per boat and trip, and to put the profitability and viability of the 186 European longliners catching sharks at risk.

"For the appeal, this measure will imply the fleet concentration in areas that are closer to the coast, concentrating the pressure on shark communities that inhabit coastal waters," continued Cepesca in apress release.

The Confederation also denounces the disloyalty of those who have been elected by the Spanish to defend their economic and social interests in Brussels.

The reform of the EU legislation, which flatly prohibits finning and ends special permits, was backed by MEPs with 566 votes in favour, 47 against and 16 abstentions.

The next step is that the EP and the Council try to reach a first reading agreement on this issue.

Related article:

- Parliament supports a total ban on shark finning

By Analia Murias



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