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This is a joint NGO letter on the need to protect tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) in European waters, co-signed by 15 NGOs (Dutch Elasmobranch Society, The Shark Trust, iSea, Submon, Shark Foundation, Shark Lab Malta, A.P.E:C.S., Sciaena, Our Fish, Danish Nature Foundation, Fisheries Secretariat, ClientEarth, North Sea Foundation, Marine Conservation Society and European Anglers Alliance). In this letter, we would ask for the Commissioner’s support in our call as urgent management action is needed to prevent further decline of this threatened species.
Tope is a medium sized shark species that has both demersal and pelagic life phases and migrates throughout EU waters. It is a live bearing shark with a triannual breeding cycle which means this species cannot withstand prolonged extensive fishing pressure. Tope is now listed as critically endangered globally on the red list, the downward trend is driven by unsustainable fishing. The EU has failed to implement any measures that meaningfully restrict the catches of tope shark in the North-East Atlantic, even though it has been flagged (including in ICES advice) for over a decade that management is needed to prevent overexploitation.
We therefore call for a prohibition of all catches of tope shark to allow the population to recover again in European waters.