Shark fin exports 'must be banned'

| 29th July 2019
Britain has exported more than 50 tonnes of shark fins, according to Greenpeace UK.

Many people will be gobsmacked to hear that Britain is fuelling a controversial global trade threatening a majestic predator that's vital to life in our oceans.

A global demand for shark fin soup has led to environmental campaigners calling on the UK Government to ban exports of the animal product.

Greenpeace UK said Britain has exported more than 50 tonnes of shark fins worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in the past two years.

An investigation by the organisation's investigative journalism unit claims to expose Britain's role in fuelling the global market for shark fins.

Fin

Greenpeace said the majority of sharks in European and UK waters are being caught by Spanish vessels.

Sharks are being landed in the UK, and their fins are then sent to Spain, one of the world's biggest shark fin exporters, the campaign group said, adding that from there they are sold on to meet demand, largely in certain Asian countries, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy.

Referring to data from HMRC, Greenpeace said shark fins valued at more than £300,000 were sent to Spain since 2017.

Will McCallum, head of oceans at Greenpeace UK, said: "Many people will be gobsmacked to hear that Britain is fuelling a controversial global trade threatening a majestic predator that's vital to life in our oceans.

"With tens of millions of sharks being killed every year, the UK Government should do all it can to protect these creatures, starting with a ban on shark fin exports.

Controls

"We are campaigning for limits on shark fishing and also at the UN for a strong Global Ocean Treaty which will help shark populations recover from decades of overfishing and provide greater protection for marine life in our seas."

Graham Buckingham, from shark conservation organisation Bite Back, told Unearthed: "The sheer volume of shark fins being exported by the UK is a shocking indication that global demand for shark fin soup remains high and that sharks from EU waters are paying the price."

A Defra spokeswoman said: "The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation and we led the charge to ban shark finning across the European Union and pressing for stronger international action.

"While we're a member of the EU it is not possible to introduce additional restrictions on shark fin trade, but leaving the EU will give us an opportunity to consider further controls."

This Article

Catherine Wylie is a reporter with PA.

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