Iceland Votes Against Protecting Sharks - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Votes Against Protecting Sharks

Published August 27, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Horizon Charters/Wikimedia Commons

Iceland was one of a handful of countries to vote against a shark hunting ban at last Sunday’s CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) conference in Geneva, despite none of the protected sharks being native to Icelandic waters, Vísir reports.

The overfishing of sharks has been a topic of concern for CITES, prompting the submission of three separate articles concerning 18 species of shark, including the mako. The majority of countries involved voted in favour of a hunting ban on these sharks, although some countries had objections to hunting bans on specific species.

Iceland was one of a handful of countries to vote against banning the hunting of any of these species, despite the fact that none of the 18 species involved swim in Icelandic waters.

“Icelanders have been very reluctant to agree to protections on fish,” biologist Jón Már Halldórsson told reporters. “We are a fishing people, and there are greater interests that lie in other species. Foreign organisations have fought for limiting the fishing of cod, for example.”

Shark hunting does not comprise a large portion of Iceland’s overall fishing revenue. There are five species of shark that are hunted in Icelandic waters: the Greenland shark, the porbeagle, and three species of dogfish. The Greenland shark is the most popular of all these, and is the species usually used in the creation of hákarl, Iceland’s notorious fermented shark.

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