6 May, 2014 @ 15:30
1 min read

Spain blamed for ‘wall of death’ wiping out British sharks

terry goss blue shark e

SPANISH and Portuguese fishing fleets are wiping out Britain’s shark populations with a ‘wall of death’.

The two countries are killing up to four million sharks each year in the north Atlantic, mostly to satisfy the Far East’s demand for shark fin soup.

Scientists have discovered the use of 60 mile-long fishing lines, bristling with baited hooks to target British sharks.

The lines are laid across the routes taken by blue and mako sharks – the main targets – as they migrate in and out of British waters.

The discovery, made by researchers at the Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association (MBA), could explain why UK shark populations are plummeting.

David Sims, professor of marine ecology at the MBA, explained that the team compared the movements of sharks with the movements of the nearly 200 Spanish and Portuguese fishing boats.

“We found that the sharks are congregating where warm and cool currents meet. These are highly productive areas that attract fish – and that attracts sharks too,” said Sims.

“However, it also attracts fishing vessels and we found many longlines laid in exactly the places where sharks concentrate. It is a wall of death for sharks.”

What emerged is that fisherman are effectively following sharks around the ocean, laying the deadly longlines wherever they congregate.

The study plays a vital role in discovering the impact of unregulated commercial shark fishing, which currently wipes out 100 million sharks globally each year.

The life cycle of sharks makes them hugely vulnerable to overfishing and population collapse, as they reach maturity late and produce very few young.

Sims added: “These are awe-inspiring animals but it is open-season on sharks. We should hit the panic button right now rather than in 10 years’ time when it could be too late.”

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. You can’t stop them fishing. They will be fishing in Spanish waters and as they’ve always fished in this barbaric way they’ll continue doing so until the sea is exhausted of anything they want to make money out of.

  2. In 1971 Iceland put a 200 mile exclusion zone around their country to preserve fishing grounds. British fishermen didn’t like it and said they’d continue fishing. Britain sent out the Royal Navy to protect the British vessels from the Icelandic’s. That was commonly known as the cod wars.
    If there is a genuine need to control fishing, then everyone should cease to fish, but that won’t happen, every. Country believes they have a right to do it. In reality, fish stocks become low and could possibly be unsustainable. Unless the world governing bodies do something, then some fish will become extinct. This is not a Spanish and Portuguese problem, it is a worldwide problem.

  3. At Horta / Azores /Portugal the Spanish unload every year 5000t of mainly blue shark and some Mako shark. The biggest trade place in Europe is the harbour of Vigo / Spain. The hunting goes on and one and one. They do not stop. We fight against it since years together with Portuguese personalities like Nuno Sa. Just for information. 75% of the dish “Fish annd Chips” is shark! Only 25% codfish. So the british should think about their own eating behaviour! It is also very cheep fish for the European market, especially Italy and Spain. Since July 2013 the sharks must be unloaded in one piece, fins on the body. This makes the hunting for some of them unprofitable. But the others do not stop. The fight goes on.
    Sharkproject International e.V.

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