Smith And Gordon Ramsay Turn Up The Heat On Banning Shark Finning

23 January 2011

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has joined forces with Scots chef Gordon Ramsay in a crusade to have the abhorrent practice of shark finning banned.

The horrendous practice was brought into sharp focus recently by Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay when he visited Costa Rica to expose the practice. During filming he was threatened and doused in petrol.

Smith has invited Ramsay to speak at the European Parliament in a bid pressure legislators to close the loopholes in EU laws which allow shark finning to continue and to help the chef's efforts to raise global awareness and stop the appalling global trade altogether.

In spite of their sharp teeth and vicious reputations, over 70 million sharks are killed every year, a practice which is driving them to the brink of extinction. And it's mainly to supply the key ingredient for one dish - shark fin soup.  Fins can sell for up to £200 per kilo and, in order to maximise profits, fishermen remove fins from a shark at sea and then throw the body back into the water.

A recent declaration was passed in the European Parliament, which Smith signed, calling for the European Commission to immediately bring forward a legislative proposal to prohibit the removal of shark fins onboard vessels in the EU. Smith was delighted that the declaration received sufficient support for it to become official policy of the European Parliament.

Smith said:

"The current finning ban the EU has in place is woefully inadequate and this is the second occasion where the Parliament has requested that the Commission work to close finning ban loopholes, having done so already in 2006.

"With the current exemptions in the legislation that allow fins and carcasses to be landed separately, as well as an excessive fin-to-carcass weight ratio, Europe is lagging well behind the rest of the world.

"I have invited Gordon Ramsay to speak at the European Parliament and will work with him to put pressure on the Commission to act now to remedy this unacceptable situation."