The European Citizens’ Initiative “Stop Finning – Stop the Trade” received on 5 July 2023 the Commission’s response to their request to end the trade in shark fins in Europe through additional trade legislation.

We welcome the Commission’s recognition of the importance of sharks and their protection. It is understood that the Commission will launch an impact assessment on the environmental, social and economic consequences of a shark fin ban in the European Union by the end of 2023.

StopFinningEU will ensure that the voice of 1.1 million EU citizens is heard and will continue to be at the forefront. StopFinningEU stands with science. Consequently, the impact assessment must cover all relevant sectors and therefore go beyond the interests of the fishing industry.

We are confident that the outcome of the assessment will prove that there is no alternative to a legally binding trade ban! It is now up to the Commission and Parliament to decide whether Europe remains part of the problem or becomes part of the solution.

To the official response!
To our reaction!

The European Citizens’ Initiative “STOP FINNING – STOP THE TRADE” is supported by more than 100 NGOs, countless partners and volunteers as well as 1,119,996 verified EU
citizens who submitted their statement of support.

Sharks are essential for the marine ecosystem and climate protection!

  • Sharks ensure the health of the ocean-based tourism, fisheries and food security.

  • The oxygen in every second breath we take is produced by the oceans. The extinction of sharks would have a tremendous impact on the marine ecosystem, which in turn would negatively affect the climate and CO2 pollution in the atmosphere.

  • Protecting resilient biodiversity and ecosystems and ensuring the sustainability of our blue economy and fisheries sector are high priorities of the EU Green Deal.

Hunting sharks for their fins can only end with a trade ban for loose fins!

  • More than 100.000.000 sharks are killed every year, mainly for their fins.

  • 167 shark species are threatened with extinction. The number of sharks in the high seas has declined by more than 70 % in the last 50 years.

  • The high market value of shark fins is the only reason to fish sharks at unsustainable rates and to continue the cruel practice of ‘finning’, whether it’s legal or not.

The EU is still part of the problem!

  • Currently, the Member States Spain, Portugal and France are among the Top 15 shark-fishing nations of the world and are often even subsidised by the EU.

  • Although the EU has conservation obligations under CITES and CMS, threatened/protected shark species are entering the market due to current inadequate legislation.

  • A legal market for shark fins creates a loophole for illegal fins, as origin and species are difficult to trace. Loose shark fins can only be identified with complex and expensive DNA tests

The current “Fins Naturally Attached” regulation states that fins may not be removed from the body of the shark before landing. This means that loose fins can still be traded and exported.

To close this loophole, additional trade legislation is needed to ban the export, import and transit of loose shark fins!

With the change of the regulation the EU fulfills its conservation obligations, secures a sustainable economy as well as food security and becomes part of the growing community of States, which take these responsibilities seriously.