Grapsus adscensionis round #2July 17, 2023
Humanitarian Fund 23/07 :: UkraineAugust 5, 2023
On the 6th of March 2008 (yes, that’s not a typo 😉 we were invited for a meeting in room ASP A3E2 of the European Parliament, in Brussels, to discuss the implementation of a Shark Action Plan for Europe. Flying Sharks was less than two years old at the time, but we were there, and again in 2009, and again in multiple meetings held by the Shark Alliance, an old project focusing on protecting Sharks & Rays in European waters.
A lot has happened since:
- We managed to close multiple loopholes in finning legislation
- Deep-sea sharks are now subjected to a zero TAC (total allowable catch) and can no longer be landed by commercial fisheries
- Multiple skates are under protection also
- Basking sharks, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whale sharks and, more recently, mako sharks also became part of the CITES convention, which seriously decreases the numbers that are caught – or so we’d hope, because we’re working on a paper that says otherwise
- WWF Portugal | Associação Natureza Portugal did a seminal report on Sharks and Rays, which was revised by us
- And, finally, the time finally came for Portugal to draft its first ever Plan of Action for managing sharks and rays in Portuguese waters
We were deligthed to be part of this historical meeting, held last July 7 and promoted by WWF Portugal | Associação Natureza Portugal.
Ironically, we took the strongest stance, encouraging those in the room to focus on lobbying for Portugal to become a Shark Sanctuary, which would effectively ban all possibilities for us to export Sharks & Rays in the future.
Still, we firmly believe that is the way to move forward, because the value of shark commercial fisheries, and the number of professionals involved, is vastly surpassed by the insane benefits that would come from Portugal becoming the first Shark Sanctuary in Europe.
It’s been long established, in multiple scientific peer-reviewed papers, that “live” sharks are worth often 100 times more than dead sharks, which drove the Bahamian government, amongst many others, to ban all shark fishing, thus leading to a thriving shark diving industry. To put it plainly, there’s more money to be made from live sharks, than from dead ones, and that is the point we tried to push across.
Only time will tell if we’re successful, but we’ll keep hammering at it. After all, we did start the first Portuguese Association for promoting Shark and Ray research back in 1997, so why would we stop now??