what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Removal of fins of sharks on board vessels

The practice known as 'shark finning', whereby sharks' fins are cut off on board fishing vessels and their bodies are then thrown overboard, has been prohibited for EU vessels for several years now, though Member States were allowed to grant special permission for shark finning by their own vessels.

Portugal and Spain were the only two countries to make use of such dispensations. Additionally, EU legislation left other loopholes, allowing fishers to land bodies and fins in different harbours.

Under pressure from marine conservation groups the European Commission duly proposed to prohibit the separation of fins from bodies at sea.


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens fiercely oppose shark finning.

We believe that most types of shark should be added to the list of endangered species to grant them the level of protection they need.

The EU should promote a global ban on shark finning and practice in European waters and on European vessels what it preaches at the global level.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

Despite an initial failure to achieve a ban on shark finning in the Fisheries Committee, dominated as it is by fisheries interests, the Greens were ultimately able to exploit the strong public opposition to shark finning to secure a majority in plenary for a ban on shark finning.

Since the EU joined the ranks of the countries to have banned shark finning, it has made unsuccessful efforts to include some shark species in the list of endangered species. This has failed so far, because of the resistance of other countries.


Which points did the Greens lose?

The vote in plenary was a total success for the Greens.


Procedure:Non-legislative enactment


Lead MEP:Maria do Céu Patrao Neves (EPP)

Green MEP responsible:Raül Romeva


Staff contact:Michael Earle (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?