Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
The practice of shark finning — cutting off the fins and discarding the carcasses — has, since 2003, been prohibited through Regulation (EC) 1185/2003(1). Amendments were later introduced by Regulation (EU) 605/2013(2) in order to improve monitoring through a fins attached policy.
A comprehensive impact assessment and stakeholder consultation were conducted by the Commission before the amendment was proposed. In response to concerns voiced by the fishery sector, the Regulation allows slicing partly through each fin and folding it against the carcass, thus addressing the sector's need for easier handling and storage.
The Commission sees no need to revise the regulation at this stage. Member States must submit annual reports on the implementation of the regulation. To date, only 15 have submitted a complete report; this makes it difficult to assess the implementation of the Regulation.
An increasing number of countries ban shark finning and implement fins attached policies. The EU promotes actively such policies in relevant international fora and in particular in RFMOs. The Commission's aim is twofold: to improve the conservation and sustainable management of sharks and create a more level playing field. It will continue to work actively with like-minded States to eliminate the practice of shark finning globally.
The Commission does not provide financial support to Member States or operators for compliance with current legislation. To support the sector more generally, Member States may decide to provide support under the EMFF(3) to achieve more sustainable use of marine biological resources, to promote environmentally-friendly processing methods, or to make investments to deal with unwanted catches or to improve the quality of fishery products.