14 Dec 2016

WWF laments lack of progress on Pacific shark finning

2:56 pm on 14 December 2016

The environmental group, WWF, says it regrets the failure of a European Union move to place limits on shark finning at last week's meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Shark fins found in the freezer of the Shuen De Ching No.888. In total there were sacks containing 75 kilograms of shark fins from at least 42 sharks. Under Taiwanese law and Pacific fishing rules, shark fins may not exceed 5% of the weight of the shark catch. 9 Sep 2015

Shark fins found in the freezer of the Shuen De Ching No.888. In total Greenpeace says there were sacks containing 75 kilograms of shark fins from at least 42 sharks but only three shark carcasses reported in the log book. Photo: Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Amid pressure from Asian fishing nations, the Tuna Commission rejected the EU's push for a 'fins naturally attached' policy.

Under this scheme the WWF said fishing operators would no longer be able to cut the fins from sharks and toss the carcasses back into the ocean.

A WWF fisheries expert, Bubba Cook, said it would have allowed for accountability.

"You want to have the whole carcass on board. It does limit how much they can catch because whatever hold space they are putting shark carcasses into is hold space that they might have been able to use for a higher value tuna or other species," he said.

"So it has multiple functions, but the real goal is to be able to know how much mortality we are seeing of these sharks."

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