Stop Finning, Stop the Trade; what next following the successful European Citizens Initiative?

16 Jan 2023
On 19 January 2023, the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals will discuss the next steps of the eighth successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Stop Finning - Stop the Trade” and also proposals for the inclusion of fish welfare-related concerns in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Every year, between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed, and many species are increasingly threatened worldwide. While shark finning is prohibited on EU vessels and in EU waters, and sharks must be landed with fins attached to their bodies, the EU is one of the world's largest exporters of fins and a significant transit area for the global fin trade. Sharks commonly have their fins removed while alive on fishing boats, and are then left to asphyxiate or returned to die in the water. The steep erosion of shark populations across the globe has severe impacts, as many sharks are ‘apex predators’ and play an active role in maintaining healthy and productive marine ecosystems. 

With over 1.1 million statements of support from EU citizens officially submitted this month, the European Commission now has six months to decide on political actions to end the EU shark fin trade. 

Nils Kluger, the spokesperson and coordinator of the “Stop Finning - Stop the Trade” ECI will discuss the political process of the validated ECI and the role that MEPs and the European Parliament has to play in strengthening the political impact of this initiative. 

Another topic that will be discussed is the CFP. In October 2012 the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) was published in the official journal of the EU, including the specific requirements that the formulation and implementation of Union fisheries policy, ‘since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals’. More than a year later, in October 2013, the CFP was published, and it failed entirely to take up the commitments made in the TFEU to pay regard to the welfare of animals.

The European Commission is now developing a report on how the CFP has functioned to date, and on emerging trends of importance to fisheries and aquaculture. Florence Dossche, Political and Legal Adviser at Eurogroup for Animals, and Douglas Waley, Fish Welfare Senior Programme Leader at Eurogroup for Animals, will discuss the steps necessary to make improvements for captured animals transition to embed welfare in sustainable food chains.


Join us on Thursday in Room Weiss N3.2 in the European Parliament in Strasbourg or follow live via a link to be uploaded soon. Interpretation in the room will be available in English, Polish, French, German and Italian.