Spain is the first EU country to prohibit hammerhead and thresher shark fisheries

Oceana applauds the Spanish government’s decision to provide strict protection to these vulnerable species

Press Release Date: April 22, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Oceana congratulates the Spanish Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs today for publishing in the Official State Bulletin a total prohibition on the catch of hammerhead and thresher sharks[1]. With this highly awaited Ministerial Order, Spain has become a pioneering country within the European Unión by regulating its shark fisheries. It is the result of collaborations over the past year between Oceana, the Ministry and the fisheries sector to reach an agreement that is satisfactory for all.

“We congratulate the Ministry for this measure, which represents a first step for Spain to regulate its shark fisheries. Thresher and hammerhead sharks are among the most vulnerable in the oceans, and this Ministerial Order with save the lives of the nearly 15,000 individuals that this country catches a year,comments Rebecca Greenberg, marine scientists with the international marine conservation organization.

The new Ministerial Order, which will take effect on 1 January 2010, will prohibit the catch of all hammerhead sharks (genera Sphyrna y Eusphyra) and thresher sharks (single genus Alopias), by all types of fishing gear used by the Spanish fleet. Transhipment, landing and commercializing these species will also be prohibited.

The Ministerial Order will be applicable to the entire Spanish fleet regardless of the where it operates, including jurisdictional waters of third countries where it fishes under special agreements. This is an extremely important measure,” declares Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. In general, shark fisheries in waters of third countries lack any kind of management, and this legislation becomes much more valuable by including these areas.” 

Oceana hopes that this Spanish measure becomes an example for other countries catching these shark species, and looks to the regional and international forums for the possibility of extending these prohibitions to other fishing fleets.