Race to Extinction: Shark Conservation Under International and European Law and its Limits
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the existing (global and regional) legal standards on shark conservation from over-exploitation. First, an analysis of the current international legal framework (law of the sea, sustainable fisheries management, wildlife law) applicable to shark protection is provided (Part I). Next the paper explores the evolution of the European Union (EU) policy on shark finning, since the EU − in line with the United States (Shark Conservation Act) − opted for a strict fins-attached policy, or Fins-Naturally Attached (FNA), The new policy eliminated the major pitfall of its previous regulation, based on a fin-tocarcass weight regime, that allowed separate landing of the fins detached and of the shark carcass. This paper considers whether this turn of the EU – the first intergovernmental organization to adopt a binding act on shark finning – can be considered as a breakthrough and whether FNA can be the solution to the threat of extinction of sharks, arguing for a different solution.