David Sims and Nuno Queiroz call for tighter fisheries regulations for species caught by European fleets as by-catch, using shortfin mako and blue sharks as examples (Nature 531, 448; 2016). However, their arguments with respect to these species have been overtaken by policy developments.
In 2013, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted a new regulation that amends a 2003 legal act about the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels. Sharks must now be landed with their fins attached, so gutted carcasses of swordfish can no longer be passed off as shortfin mako.
As an indicator of that policy's success, actual shortfin mako landings of the EU fleet made up 16.5% and 9.7% of blue-shark landings in 2013 and 2014, respectively (go.nature.com/6fptm8), in line with the typical proportions quoted by Sims and Queiroz.
The views expressed are those of the author and not an official position of the European Commission.
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