Europe is playing a lead role in the overfishing, waste, and depletion of the world’s sharks. Despite improved management instruments and growing public concern, European Union (EU) restrictions on shark finning remain among the weakest in the world.

Spain, Portugal, the UK and France are among the world’s top 20 shark fishing nations that are responsible for 80% of the global catch.

In order to prevent shark carcasses being dumped at sea, most finning bans use a fin to carcass weight ratio calculation to ensure that fisheries are landing all the shark carcasses from which the fins have been removed and not simply dumping them overboard.

At its most effective, this calculation uses scientific expertise to estimate the weight of fins relative to the rest of the body. The most robust calculations say this is a ratio of around 2% fin to whole carcass.