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European Commission Seeks Public Feedback on Shark Protection Measures

European Commission Seeks Public Feedback on Shark Protection Measures

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Brussels, 27 April 2024 (WAI): The European Commission is taking a significant step towards better-protecting sharks and marine ecosystems by inviting public feedback through a newly published questionnaire. The purpose of this initiative is to gather insights from citizens and stakeholders on potential policy options following the 2023 European citizens’ initiative “Stop Finning—Stop the Trade.”

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Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius emphasized the importance of public engagement, stating, “The citizens’ initiative ‘Stop Finning – Stop the Trade’ garnered over 1 million signatures, highlighting the significance of shark conservation to many Europeans. As we assess various measures to enhance shark protection, we want to ensure that the public’s voice is heard in shaping the European Commission’s response.”

The consultation is open to a wide range of stakeholders, encompassing citizens, non-governmental organizations, fisheries operators, trade unions, researchers, public authorities, and international organizations. The questionnaire will be accessible online for a period of twelve weeks, concluding on June 4, 2024.

The feedback gathered from the questionnaire will not only contribute to an ongoing impact assessment, but also directly influence potential future actions by the European Commission. Proposed measures under consideration include the potential restriction of the trade of loose shark fins, the promotion of sustainability certification schemes for shark products, and the advocacy for global trade bans on shark fin trade.

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Building upon previous efforts, the European Commission has taken steps towards shark conservation, including enhanced enforcement of existing measures and international outreach to reduce shark fin consumption and finning practices worldwide.

Sharks play a crucial role in marine ecosystems, yet many species face threats from human activities. Over one-third of shark species are at risk of extinction due to overfishing and habitat destruction. The Commission recognizes that shark finning poses a significant threat to these species and aims to address this issue comprehensively.

By seeking input from the public and stakeholders, the European Commission demonstrates its commitment to inclusive decision-making and ensuring that policies reflect the concerns and interests of European citizens.

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