Monday, 18 February 2008


There is lots of publicity around the Cod Quota and the problems of British Fishing. However, very little seems to get into the press about the plight of the shark or the Spinney Dogfish. In particular the Porbeagle Shark, one of around 130 species of shark that inhabit European waters.

The Porbeagle is now on the endangered species list after populations have dropped by 90%. In 2007 the UK agreed a reduced quota for 2008 from 422 tones to just 4 tones after the EU Commission proposed a total ban on commercial Porbeagle fishing. France and Portugal then successfully lobbied the EU Commission for a revised quota for their fishermen of 586 tonnes an increase of over 25% on last year.

In the Pacific 9 out of 10 sharks caught are thrown back after just the fin has been cut off. Shark meat is in fact almost worthless (Porbeagle Shark meat is sold in French Supermarkets for about £1 a pound). It is the fin, which makes up less than 5% of a shark's body weight, which is of most value. Shark fins are in high demand in the Far East as an essential ingredient in soup! However, according to a World Conservation Union Report the most dangerous place in the world to be a shark is the Mediterranean! Almost half the species in the Mediterranean are currently facing extinction. The decline in shark numbers is so bad that even so august a body as the United Nations General Assembly is now calling for an urgent review of shark fishing policies.

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