Demonstrating for better protection of endangered shark species

Fishing in the Atlantic kills 25,000 endangered mako sharks each year

Against the capture of tens of thousands of endangered sharks in the North Atlantic, environmentalists protested from Greenpeace on the action ship "Esperanza" west of Portugal.

"Sharks Under Attack" is on the banner used by activists to confront a Spanish fish trawler. Every year, up to 25,000 endangered mako sharks fall victim to the Atlantic swordfish fishery, according to a new Greenpeace report. The ICCAT fisheries authority acknowledges the threat to the stock but does nothing to protect the animals. "Sharks are hugely important to the marine ecosystem. But in the Atlantic, the animals are killed by tens of thousands," says Greenpeace marine expert Christian Bussau. "To expose the culprits at sea is not enough. The EU urgently needs stricter fishing regulations and controls to protect our oceans and their creatures."

The increasing demand for shark fins in Asia makes the catch a lucrative business. The specially hunted shark species Shortfin and Longfin Mako were upgraded from "Endangered" to "Highly Endangered" in March 2019 on the Red List of the World Conservation Union IUCN - we reported (link to: ) According to the relevant regional fisheries organization, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the catches of short-tailed makos must be reduced to zero in order for the However, ICCAT is failing to take effective measures to protect sharks, and so far there are no catch restrictions on sharks caught in the North Atlantic.

EU prohibits finning

The "finning" is the main source of income for fishermen in swordfish fishing. The sharks are declared as so-called by-catch. On board, the fishermen cut off their fins and then throw the animals back into the sea. Although the EU prohibits finning, many Spanish and Portuguese trawlers continue the bestial practice. The Greenpeace report shows that lack of regulation and controls are the causes of dramatic shark mortality. Roughly 70 to 100 million sharks are killed by humans worldwide.