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Article posted: 11/22/2012 7:42 AM

EU takes major step to protect sharks

A worker cuts a shark fin at a fish market in Dubai , United Arab Emirates. The global trade in shark fins totals hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and tens of millions of sharks around the world may be caught every year for their fins. Some experts estimate that stocks of some shark species in inshore reef systems around the world have fallen by up to 90 percent.

A worker cuts a shark fin at a fish market in Dubai , United Arab Emirates. The global trade in shark fins totals hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and tens of millions of sharks around the world may be caught every year for their fins. Some experts estimate that stocks of some shark species in inshore reef systems around the world have fallen by up to 90 percent.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

BRUSSELS -- The European Union has taken a major step to protect sharks, banning the brutal practice of slicing off their fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to perish.

The European Parliament on Thursday voted with an overwhelming 566-47 margin to force all boats in EU waters and EU-registered boats around the world to land sharks with their fins attached and prove the animal had not been thrown back.

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says that about one third of sharks and rays are threatened both in EU waters and around the globe.

Uta Bellion of the Pew Environment Group says that "the parliament's vote is a major milestone in ending the wasteful practice of shark finning." EU nations are expected to back the rule soon.

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