International Effort Required to Ban EU Shark Fin Trade
The European Parliament has extended the deadline for the EU Citizens' Initiative (ECI) campaigning for an end to the trade in shark fins from its original deadline of 31 July 2021 until 31 October 2021, due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
ECIs are petitions raised by citizens to the European Parliament to effect change in EU regulations. The 'Stop Finning – Stop the trade' Initiative was first raised in 2019 by the campaign group Stop Finning EU and began collecting statements of support on 31 January 2020. In order to be successful, the ECI must gather at least one million statements of support and pass minimum supporting thresholds from at least seven member states, after which the EU Commission is legally obliged to react within six months.
To date, only 155,749 statements of support have been collected from the 27 EU member states, and only France is currently close reaching its national target, with 89 per cent of the 55,574 statements of support required to meet its threshold. Portugal is in second place with 76.48 per cent of its target met, and Germany a distant third with just 58.56 per cent of its required number of statements of support.
Shark finning – as in the barbaric practice of cutting fins from live sharks and casting the still-living animal back into the sea – is banned across the EU, however, the trade in shark fins from sharks which are legally landed – with 'fins naturally attached' – is not, which led to a 2015 proposal for a ban on transporting 20kg of shark fins throughout the EU 'for personal consumption' being rejected by the European Commission.
The UK's departure from the European Union means that UK citizens are unable to participate in the ECI. However, much action is required and therefore, here at DIVE, we're calling on our followers to support the campaign and share the information as far and wide on social media as is humanly possible. A UK government petition smashed the 100,000 required signatures to force a Parliamentary debate over the shark fin trade post-Brexit, and campaigners such as Shark Guardian are hopeful that, if progress can be made by the UK, that other European nations will follow suit.
For more information on the Stop Finning EU campaign, you can visit the official campaign website at www.stop-finning-eu.org, and follow its progress on the Stop Finning EU Facebook page, @stopfinningeu on Instagram and @stopfinningeu on Twitter.