Scottish MEP swims with sharks

alynScottish MEP Alyn Smith had a close encounter with live sharks – as part of a personal bid to block a global threat to their survival as a species.

Alyn, an SNP member of the European Parliament, donned a drysuit and entered the 4.5 million litre shark tank at Deep Sea World, North Queensferry to bring attention to his attempts to obtain a comprehensive ban within the European Union on the barbaric practice of cutting the fins off these magnificent creatures, discarding the rest of the body and leaving them to die slowly and painfully.

This so-called finning is now one of the biggest threats to sharks worldwide, fuelled by a continuing demand from China for the use of fins in soup. These fins can sell for hundreds of Euros per kilogram while the rest of the shark is of relatively low value, which is why it is so often thrown back over the side and left to die a lingering and painful death.

The EU is currently one of the world’s largest suppliers of shark fins to East Asia, almost exclusively because of the actions of Spanish and Portuguese fishing vessels who exploit a loophole in existing law in order to maximise their profits.

According to Mr Smith : “Europe’s stance on this issue has been confused and contradictory and the legislation is complex. Next month, we have a chance in the plenary session in Strasbourg to put things right and bring in an unequivocal ban. I fully intend to support this and I’m sure my colleagues in the Green/EFA Group at the European Parliament, who are equally committed to action, will feel the same.”

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