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Spain

The global shark-fin trade has expanded massively over the last few years, with large-scale fisheries operating out of S.E. Asia and South America. It was thought that these fisheries were generally confined to these regions. Sharks caught in England may be sold as crab bait for around 20p per lb and fetch a maximum of 1.20 per lb for rock slamon, huss, or flake (fish and chip industry). With European fish stocks still declining it seems inevitable that fishermen will turn their attention to shark fins; far more profitable in the short-term.

Recent investigation by the Shark Trust shows that 27% of sharks fin imported to Hong Kong now come from Europe (mainly Spain). John and Sune nightingale went to N. Spain to fin out more;

"we arrived at the N. Spanish fishing port of Vigo at around 4 in the morning. Longlining boats were already unloading their frozen catch. We saw around 4000 sharks unloaded, weighed, and auctioned in one morning. That port operates 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year."

The main species landed are blue sharks, but porbeagle, mako, and thresher are also caught.

"most of the sharks we saw were juviniles that wouldn't have had a chance to breed yet."

Photographic and video evidence captured by the nightingales has been used to expose the extent of the Spanish shark trade in magazines and tv news features.

"This is blatantly an unsustainable fishery, if it is allowed to go on unchecked by any legislation then the European shark population is going to plummet"

The Shark Trust is campaigning for a ban on the shark-fin trade and tough shark quotas in Europe.

Sune Nightingale