The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015

15
May

Sharks in the Baltic

Stockholm 15th May 2008: A new report on sharks and related species in the Baltic Sea from the Shark Alliance highlights the threats to these over-looked fish and calls for improved conservation policies.

The report documents the distribution and status of 31 species sharks, rays and chimaeras (collectively known as cartilaginous fishes) in the Baltic and transitional areas, details how current safeguards are insufficient in the face of current fishing and environmental pressures, and outlines recommendations for the governments of Baltic countries, particularly EU Member States.

“Sharks are here and the only thing to fear is losing them forever,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance and co-author of the report. “Sharks and related species are poorly studied and inadequately protected throughout most European waters, and our analysis reveals that these failings are even more severe for the Baltic region.

Whereas most existing EU management measures for sharks and rays exclude the Baltic, Sweden protects many of these species through national regulations. With its lengthy coast and position on the salty end of the Baltic, Sweden is home to most of the 31 cartilaginous fishes found in the Sea.

Sweden is in fact the only Baltic country to adopt national rules to protect sharks and rays. Swedish officials have demonstrated interest in the development of the EU Shark Action Plan. With the EU Presidency in the latter half of 2009, Sweden is likely to preside over key decisions in the implementation of this long-awaited plan.

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