EU proposes shark-conservation rules

Seeking to reverse the decline in sharks in European waters, the European Commission proposed its first-ever shark conservation rules, the Associated Press reported. Fisheries commissioner Joe Borg targeted the practice of shark finning -- cutting off fishes' fins and throwing the rest of their bodies back into the sea -- overfishing and accidental catches of sharks.


"Many people associate sharks with the cinema, more than with restaurants," he said. "But the latest information we have confirms that human beings are now a far bigger threat to sharks than sharks ever were to us."


Because of their long life spans and low fertility rates, sharks are very vulnerable to overfishing, Borg said. A recent study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature suggests as many as one-third of the 80 types of sharks in European Union waters are threatened by overfishing.


Shark fishing has grown rapidly since the mid-1980s, driven by a rising demand in China for shark fin soup. Fishing for sharks is not illegal in the EU, but conservationists say it escapes the monitoring and quotas that exist for other fish.


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