More than a decade ago, in response to growing concern over depletion of the world’s shark populations, governments of the United Nations adopted the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, and pledged to produce shark conservation plans for their waters and fishing regions by 2001.
Since its formation in 2006, European Shark Week has been highlighting – for European citizens and policy-makers – the urgent need to better protect sharks through a Plan of Action. In February 2009, the European Commission released the long-awaited ‘European Community Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks’ (the EU Shark Action Plan). The Plan set forth actions aimed at improving information on shark fisheries, biology and trade, stopping overfishing and preventing finning.
The EU Shark Action Plan was endorsed by the European Fisheries Council in April 2009, setting the stage for sweeping improvements in EU shark fishing and protection policies. The EU can emerge from this process as a leader in shark conservation by focusing on and ensuring implementation of the Plan's commitments to: