Over 50 tonnes of shark fins, worth hundreds of thousands of euros, has been exported out of the United Kingdom over the past two years.
Despite widespread global concerns, the controversial shark fin trade has put a great deal of shark species at risk of extinction.
An investigation by Greenpeace has recently exposed Britain’s role in contributed to the global market for shark fins.
Many European sharked are being landed in the UK where their fins are cut off and sent to Spain, which is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins, where they are sold to various Asian countries meet the demand for a multitude of delicacies.
Although it is not illegal to buy or sell certain types of shark fin under EU law, it is greatly frowned upon by a great deal of environmentalist in the western world.
Will McCallum is the head of oceans at Greenpeace UK. He said: “Many people will be gobsmacked to hear that Britain is fuelling a controversial global trade threatening a majestic predator that’s vital to life in our oceans…With tens of millions of sharks being killed every year, the UK government should do all it can to protect these creatures, starting with a ban on shark fin exports.”
He added: “We are campaigning for limits on shark fishing and also at the UN for a strong Global Ocean Treaty which will help shark populations recover from decades of overfishing and provide greater protection for marine life in our seas.”
Greenpeace gathered information from HMRC which indicated that in the first five months of 2019, the UK sent almost 12 tonnes of shark fins to Spain worth around €100,411.
Graham Buckingham, from shark conservation organisation ‘Bite Back’, said: “The sheer volume of shark fins being exported by the UK is a shocking indication that global demand for shark fin soup remains high and that sharks from EU waters are paying the price. When you consider that Spain, France, Portugal and Britain feature in the top 25 shark fishing nations in the world it’s clear that European fishing fleets are making the most of the fact that there are still no catch limits for blue, mako and tope sharks.”