EU blocks UK landmark attempt to protect near extinct species ‘ruining golden opportunity’

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The Mako shark has declined by 99.9 percent since the 19th century due to is valuable meat and fins. Due to the species being close to extinction, ministers from the UK, Canada and Senegal had moved to ban the fishing of the shark. However, in what some called a “golden opportunity” missed, the EU placed “short-term fishing” above all else.

The vote took place at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) where the EU and US blocked a motion to ban the fishing of the shark.

Ali Hood, director of Conservation for Shark Trust said: “North Atlantic mako depletion remains among the world’s most pressing shark conservation crises, yet the EU and US put short-term fishing interests above all else and ruined a golden opportunity for agreeing a clear and simple remedy.

“The repeated obstruction of vital, science-based protections allows top mako fishing countries – Spain, Morocco, and Portugal — to continue to fish these endangered sharks, essentially without limit, and drive valuable populations toward collapse.”

Ships from Spain and Portugal are responsible for 65 percent of all the reported catches of the species in the North Atlantic.

The vote, blocked by the EU, was also the first act of the UK as an independent ICCAT member.

Lord Peter Goldsmith, an International Environment Minister, told The Daily Telegraph: “We are pushing for stricter protections for mako sharks, and I’m disappointed there isn’t a consensus on this issue.

“The UK has co-sponsored a proposal for a ban on landing these important endangered species at the current ICCAT annual meeting.

“As a newly independent nation, now able to speak in these global forums in our own right, we will continue to make the case for greater protection of endangered species – on land and in the ocean.”

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Now an independent coastal nation, the UK is contemplating further environmental protection laws and regulations.

The Government has introduced the Fisheries Bill in order to set out the management of waters and maintain sustainability.

Currently, the legislation is in the ‘ping-pong’ stage of the legislative process.

This means amendments will be sent between the Lords and Commons before it proceeds for Royal Assent.

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As well as creating our own standards and regulations, the UK has now been able to sign respective fisheries agreements with other independent states.

An agreement has already been signed with Norway in order to maintain crucial access to our respective waters.

Both sides will also hold annual negotiations to decipher access and quotas.

Britain has also agreed a memorandum of understanding with Iceland in order to increase cooperation on fisheries.

Both nations will now be able to strengthen and further understanding on fisheries due to the deal.

Fisheries minister, Victoria Prentis said: “This agreement demonstrates the strong relationship between our two nations on matters including trade and fisheries.

“I would like to thank our Icelandic counterparts for the constructive approach they have adopted throughout these negotiations.

“We have already seen the potential of working together given the number of shared issues and objectives our countries have on fishery management, and we look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue.”

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