The European Citizens’ Initiative
You can still sign the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Stop Finning” that works to stop the cruel killing of sharks.
Written by Lea Gormsen // 28.10.2021
The shark industry
Every year about a hundred million sharks are killed. Up to 73 million of these sharks are killed just to make use of their fins. The reason that sharks are killed just for their fins is to make shark fin soup – which is primarily an asian dish, but it is also eaten in the rest of the world. Often the sharks are caught and their fins are cut off while they are still alive. Since only the fins are in demand, the rest of the body is dumped so as not to take up space on the fishing boats. When they are dumped into the water without fins the sharks die.
Supposedly the sharkfin does not have any taste, but certain cultures believe in its healing powers. The shark is immune to different marine diseases because their job is to regulate marine life – the strong immune system is wrongly believed to transfer to humans when they eat shark fins.
Even though the highest percentage of shark fins are caught and traded in Asia, the EU also has a big industry. Every year there are transported circa 3500 tons of shark fins, worth 52 million euros, from the EU. Though, at least the EU has passed a law called “Fins Naturally Attached” which prohibits the fins from being cut off from the shark before the ship is in port.
The organisers of the “Stop Finning” initiative have only one request. Their request is: The trade with shark fins in Europe must end. Both the import, the export and transit of sharks (and rays). Since finning is still allowed in many countries, Europe cannot be sure they are not trading with illegal shark fins. Even Though the origin of the fins from the global market is often untraceable it is still legal to trade the fins within Europe.
Many other organisations have also spoken up on this subject. Green Peace for example has tried to raise awareness. They made an article on finning, where they pointed out that sharks are a vital part of the ocean’s ecosystem. They help keep the oceans healthy. Green Peace also suggested creating a network of ocean sanctuaries across the world that would act as nurseries and feeding grounds for sharks.
The ECI mechanism was created to make it possible for citizens to get involved in EU policy-making. For an initiative to be successful, the organisers need to collect 1 million signatures from citizens of at least 7 different EU countries. If this is the case, the European Commission needs to consider the claims and present an answer.
You can still sign the initiative via this link. You can also check out the initiative’s website where you can read more in depth about the initiative and the shark industry. On Our Only Home’s website you can follow any development on this and other initiatives.