The European Citizens’ Initiative’ Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ against shark fin trading in Europe has reached more than a million votes, forcing the European Commission to look into the issue, the EU said Wednesday.
Although removing fins on board of European vessels and in European waters has been illegal since 2013, the EU is still one of the biggest exporters of fins and a significant transit hub for the global fin trade.
The fins are often used for shark fin soup, considered a delicacy in China. Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed by smugglers who cut the fins from live animals. The sharks are then thrown back into the sea. Unable to swim without fins, the sharks sink to the bottom of the sea and suffocate or are eaten by other predators.
HEARTBREAKING: #Sharks often have their fins cut off while still alive, then are tossed overboard.— John Oberg (@JohnOberg) August 10, 2020
The #shark can no longer swim, so they sink to the #ocean floor and die slowly.#SharkFinSoup must be banned & we must treat animals better. RT if you agree. 💔 #SharkWeek pic.twitter.com/KRppqE8OQc
The ‘Stop Finning – Stop the Trade‘ campaigners want to end the trade of fins in the EU, including the import, export and transit of fins other than if they are naturally attached to the animal’s body.
The European Citizens’ Initiative enables Europeans to force the commission to look into a topic once a million signatures have been gathered from at least seven member states.
The commission can then suggest legislation, take other measures or decide not to act at all. But it must give an official response; in the case of the fin trade petition, the official answer must be by July 11, 2023.
The petition, which was launched in early 2020 with the support of environmental organization Sea Shepherd, had 1,119,996 signatures Wednesday, the commission said. Almost half a million signatures came from Germany.
Previously successful European Citizens’ Initiatives are the protection of bees and the end of the caging of farm animals.