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APPENDIX IV.6: SHARKS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by MASSIMO SPAGNOLO


1 STOCKS AND CATCHES

Throughout the world shark landings show a decreasing trend and therefore increasing attention is being paid to the state of these stocks. The phenomenon is hard to monitor since there is very little experience of specific shark fisheries in the world and no specific management regime has been introduced so far. Lack of qualitative information, heterogeneity in data collection and dissemination through different countries are only a few examples of the many aspects limiting the formulation of specific management plans for this fishery. In particular, there are difficulties related to the fact that sharks are part of the catch of several types of fishing gear such as trawling, longlining, purse seine, drift netting. The development of these techniques around the world, and particularly in the Mediterranean where stocks are heavily multi-specific, implies a continuous increase in the rate of exploitation of sharks.

An improvement in the quantity and quality of information concerning these species is required and the whole set of related statistics, most of them very poor and fragmented at present, need more extensive coverage. Official statistics are collected and reported in a number of ways and, occasionally, statistics of a particular country may differ when reported nationally and internationally. This is the case in France, where the national listing is wider than the one used by international bodies. In this case some of the information is lost. All kinds of shark statistics are usually grouped in only one or two categories. The lack of any distinction between species which are caught by gears used for pelagic fish and those species living in deep waters, representing the catch of trawlers or the bycatch of longliners, does not allow the framing of any specific management measures. In fact, not all species are endangered and many of those living in deep waters do not seem to be seriously affected by the increasing exploitation of the fishing industry. Given these circumstances, most of the information used for understanding the evolution of the phenomenon is primarily originated by researchers working on scientific programmes where shark catches are reported, even if they are not the target species of their work on board.

On the demand side it appears that the situation is the same. Consumption is difficult to monitor and, again, statistics on utilisation and trade in sharks have not been given the importance they deserve. Consequently, there is a lack of homogeneity and standardisation on data reporting for this group. Shark consumption has been growing fast in recent years and countries such as Italy, Spain and France are absorbing increasing quantities.

Sharks have a wide range of uses and the Mediterranean markets are the most important in absolute terms. Sharks are traded as raw material in the fish food market, fresh, chilled, frozen or dried- salted. In some cases it is sold as shark, sometimes it is used as a substitute for swordfish and other similar species. Shark liver is used as a raw material for the production of pharmaceutical products and the cartilage is used by the same industry for its curative properties. Skin is used for leather luxury goods and trade in shark fins is also important. Far Eastern markets and oriental restaurants attach great value to the latter. As a result, dried shark fins are one of the most expensive products in the world food market.

The number of shark species living in the Mediterranean is high and FAO has attempted to record landings of the most important. Unfortunately, the data collected is associated with the list of species reported in Table 1 which is not complete and some of the most important landings are not recorded.

Table 1 List of shark species reported in the FAO Yearbook

English Name

Latin Name

Porbeagle

Lamna nasus

Catshark

Scyliorhinus spp.

Smooth-hound

Mustelus spp.

Picked dogfish

Squalus acanthias

Dogfish sharks nei

Squalidae

Angelshark

Squatina squatina

Angel Shark, Sand Devil

Squatinidae

Large Sharks

Squaliformes

Guitar Fish

Rhinobatidae

Table 2 shows data concerning the landings in the Mediterranean of species reported in the FAO Yearbook.

Information recorded during a stock assessment campaign for demersal resources and other more specific research on board fishing vessels are much more detailed and report a higher number of species, some of them being more important than those reported in official statistics. This is the case for the Italian statistics where it has been shown that Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) and Thresher sharks (Alopias vulpinus) are by far the most important species caught but they do not appear in national or international statistics.

The available data originating from scientific campaigns show that catches are highly variable, affected by:

Table 2 Annual world and Mediterranean catches of selected species of sharks (tonnes)


1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

World Total

77 460

72 750

81 827

83 096

76 396

78 101

76 557

Mediterranean

9 016

10 751

11 409

8 782

15 036

9 837

7 026

% Mediterranean

11.64

14.78

14.03

10.56

19.68

12.59

9.17

Source: FAO Yearbook

According to official figures from FAO, Mediterranean countries contributed between 9 and 20% of annual world total landings of the selected species in the period 1990 to 1996. Of course, these figures report the official landings which do not include all those catches which are returned to the sea. Considering that in many cases sharks are a non-desirable bycatch and therefore are returned to the sea, much of it does not reach the market and is not reported.

In general, shark landings in the Mediterranean are a small percentage of the world total landed for each species. Of the two most important groups landed in the Mediterranean and recorded in the FAO Yearbook (Mustelus spp. and Squalus acanthias), only one represents a significant share of the world production. This is Mustelus spp., where Mediterranean landings amounted to as much as 67.7% in 1994 and the average percentage from 1990 to 1996 was 49.5%.

Table 3 Landings of the main species of sharks in the Mediterranean and the world (tonnes)


1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996


Mustelus spp.

Italy

3 983

5 825

5 778

4 675

9 999

5 942

2 659

Turkey

1 715

2 292

2 404

1 436

2 880

1 783

2 158

Tunisia

956

113

427

187

142

128

100

Greece

148

206

227

267

377

360

353

Syria

33

29

39

40

39

39

50

France

--

1

31

--

--

--

--

Gaza Strip

--

--

--

--

--

--

24

Albania

--

--

--

--

--

20

12

Total Area 37*

6 835

8 466

8 906

6 605

13 437

8 252

5 356

Total World

16 720

14 265

20 525

18 235

19 859

15 784

11 442

%

40.9

59.3

43.4

36.2

67.7

52.3

46.8


Squalus acanthias

Bulgaria

16

21

14

12

12

80

64

Malta

36

21

28

33

29

24

28

France

63

41

29

21

19

--

7

Ukraine

1 330

775

595

409

148

67

44

Romania

45

26

53

6

3

7

--

Slovenia

--

--

8

4

2

4

--

Total Area 37

1 490

884

727

485

213

182

143

Total World

35 826

32 559

30 002

25 749

22 026

22 787

19 362

%

4.2

2.7

2.4

1.9

0.8

0.8

0.7


Squalidae

Tunisia

--

856

1.183

860

677

596

640

Croatia

--

--

300

535

317

315

260

Albania

--

--

--

--

--

1

64

Yugoslavia

--

--

5

2

3

7

10

Yugoslavia SFR

361

206

--

--

--

--

--

Malta

5

15

5

7

10

5

4

Total Area 37

366

1 077

1 493

1 404

1 007

924

978

Total World

20 179

20 566

24 136

31 464

27 638

31 709

36 655

%

1.8

5.2

6.2

4.5

3.6

2.9

2.7


Squatinidae

Turkey

34

17

13

13

15

31

42

Malta

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Albania

--

--

--

--

--

--

54

Total Area 37

35

17

13

13

15

31

96

Total World

233

156

127

244

269

500

649

%

15.0

10.9

10.2

5.3

5.6

6.2

14.8


Squaliformes

Greece

171

206

170

124

205

266

285

Total Area 37

171

206

170

124

205

266

285

Total World

1 994

2 790

3 744

4 634

3 913

3 826

5 391

%

8.6

7.4

4.5

2.7

5.2

7.0

5.3

* Area 37 is the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
Source: FAO Yearbook

Landings of Squalus acanthias show a dramatic decrease from 1.490 tonnes in 1990 to the more recent 143 tonnes in 1996. The reduction is due to the changes in the Ukrainian fleet whose catch of this species fell by 97% during this period. The official figures show Mediterranean landings as being fairly stable over time but fluctuations in landings do occur. They are partly related to stock overexploitation, but the overall performance of the fleets in a given fishing season also plays an important role. Italy shows the largest shark landings even if the trend is steeply downward since 1994. This can be partly explained by the poor seasons that longliners have had in recent years and partly by the state of the stocks. Although absolute figures show that Mediterranean landings are fairly minor in the world wide context, the progressive reduction of the size of the unit landed, as fishermen report, calls for a conservative approach to the problem, which, in any case, requires more stringent policies in countries where stocks are already considered by scientists to be overexploited.

Table 4 Annual catches of selected species of sharks in the Mediterranean (tonnes)

Country

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

Italy

3 983

5 825

5 778

4 675

9 999

5 942

2 659

Turkey

1 749

2 309

2 417

1 449

2 895

1 814

2 200

Tunisia

1 059

1 066

1 707

1 178

861

807

794

Greece

335

416

400

411

699

705

750

Croatia

--

--

300

535

317

315

260

Albania

--

--

--

--

--

21

131

Bulgaria

16

21

14

12

12

80

64

Syria

33

29

39

40

39

39

50

Ukraine

1 330

775

595

409

148

67

44

Malta

42

36

33

40

39

29

33

Gaza Strip

--

--

--

--

--

--

24

Yugoslavia

--

--

5

2

3

7

10

France

63

42

60

21

19

--

7

Yugoslavia SFR

361

206

--

--

--

--

--

Slovenia

--

--

8

4

2

4

--

Romania

45

26

53

6

3

7

--

Total

9 016

10 751

11 409

8 782

15 036

9 837

7 026

Source: FAO Yearbook

The figures presented in Table 4 require further consideration and analysis suggests the data needs to be amended. In fact:

Table 5 Fleet structure in the Mediterranean - numbers of boats involved 1997

Country

Small scale fisheries

Trawling

Purse seiners

Tuna purse seiners

Other gears

Albania

17

72

21

0

0

Algeria

780

280

690

0

0

Cyprus

527

15

0

0

0

Croatia

5 000

767

276

0

0

Egypt

2 562

1 355

135

0

0

France

2 000

165

26

34


Greece

20 860

410

400

0

0

Israel

400

30

26

0

0

Italy

11 753

3 400

380

0

457

Lebanon

1 000

0

0

0

0

Libya

3 340

91

130

0

0

Malta

1 600

9

0

0

0

Morocco

2 000

56

0

0

360

Syria

1 470

20

0

0

0

Slovenia

95

0

0

0

14

Spain

3 648

1 234

454

0

0

Tunisia

13 680

458

319

65

0

Turkey

1 045

134

28

0

0

Total

71 777

8 496

2 885

99

831

Source: FAO Circulaire n. 927

2 LANDINGS BY TYPE OF FISHING GEAR

Mediterranean fisheries are multi-species and multi-gear, meaning that all species can be caught by all gears, all of them in competition for the catch of the same species. The only exception is the clam fishery. Sharks are caught mainly as a bycatch of drift-netting, longlining and, as a target species, by recreational fisheries. In the case of trawlers, knowing the strong multi-specificity of Mediterranean stocks, shark landings cannot be considered as bycatch since they are part of the bundle of fish caught by this gear. The largest landings of different sharks are associated with trawling, which is practised throughout the year except for the withdrawal periods which take place in some countries. The most important groups caught by trawlers are Mustelus spp. and Dasyatis pastinaca. Official statistics only report the first group systematically while the second is not recorded at all. There is a large body of scientific research on the impact of trawlers on Mediterranean species. Some of these results can be used in order to estimate the dimension of the phenomenon and list the shark species involved.

Depth is the main element allowing the identification of different species in the case of trawling. A specific research project on stock assessment for demersal resources in the southern Mediterranean (Andaloro,1991) shows how the presence of sharks is dependent on different depths. 95% of the catch occurs within the first 200 meters and the most common species, Dasyatis pastinaca and Mustelus mustelus, have been caught at between 0 and 100 meters. Mustelus punctulatus and Pteromylaeus bovinus have been found at the same depth, but their abundance has been estimated as marginal. Other species (Etmopterus spinax, Galeus melastomus, Scyliorhinus canicula and Scyliorhinus stellaris) have been found at between 200 and 700 meters. The average weight of the sharks found during this operation was 374g.

Another piece of research, which was carried out for red shrimp stock assessment (Di Natale et al. 1995), found identical results for the species found at around 400 meter depth. The large species, Hexanchus griseus, occurred in the northern Mediterranean (Ligurian and upper Tyrrhenian) but not in the southern Mediterranean where the latter research took place. The average weight of the sharks found during this operation was 10.2 kg but, by excluding the largest specimen, the average becomes as low as 590g.

Different results emerge in the case of drift netting and large longlining fisheries. In these cases fishermen have target species like tuna and swordfish. Sharks can be considered as a bycatch which, in the case of drift nets, is quite low even if large quantities of Cetorhinus maximus are caught occasionally.

The impact of longliners is more evident and some species are caught frequently during the fishing season. Prionace glauca, Alopias vulpinus and Lamna nasus have been observed with the highest frequency. All elasmobranchs taken together represent 3.8% of longline total landings. The size of Prionace glauca is reported to be decreasing and the average weight has been found to be 3.4 kg. This species is reported to be the most important share of all the bycatch of longliners. In this respect, some research carried out in the lower Adriatic (Marano et al. 1988) reported that Prionace glauca landings account for 74.4% by weight and 61.2% of units of the total bycatch.

Some conclusions can be drawn from this analysis. The whole Mediterranean area has no specific fishery targeting sharks. All shark landings consist of those caught by trawlers or the bycatch of longliners and drift nets, each of them having a different catch rate of sharks.

Shark landings as bycatch taken by drift nets are negligible in the Mediterranean. In any case, following the recent Fisheries Council meeting of the European Union ministers of 8 June 1998, it has been decided that the drift net fishery has to be closed down by 1 January 2002 to EU fishermen. This was the first time a decision to ban a fishing technique has been taken within the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy. The measure is intended to act as a conservation device for tuna fisheries in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This gear is not a cause of major concern within a possible shark conservation policy. Nevertheless, it should be noted that non-EU member countries show an increasing interest in this fishery and new vessels will soon be operating in the Mediterranean. The size of the vessel is not a significant parameter in evaluating the impact on bycatch as the net length is the true variable influencing catch rates.

Shark landings as bycatch taken by longliners show a significant catch rate and in some cases the size of the specimens landed show a sharp decrease. The drift net ban will affect this gear since fisher re-conversion programmes will tend naturally to shift to it. It is foreseeable that this will have a major impact on sharks in future. As in the previous case, the size of the vessel is not a significant parameter in evaluating the impact on bycatch. It is the number and dimension of the hooks which influence the catch rate. Moreover, large and small vessels carrying this gear are widespread all over the Mediterranean, which makes difficult to predict the global impact on species like sharks.

Shark landings by trawlers have different implications depending on the season, dimension of the vessel, the depth at which fishing operations take place, target species etc. Reports from scientific research on the importance of sharks in trawler fisheries show that a high number of sharks is caught in different proportions. At this stage, it does not seem to be possible to say a final word on the issue. More information is needed and, as a recommendation to management bodies, the on-going stock assessment campaign should include a specific section to analyse and monitor the evolution of this fishery.

3 TRADE

Shark trade is not a major item within the trade flows of the whole European Union but is largely concentrated among Mediterranean countries. Italy, Spain and France account for more than 70% of sharks traded in the European Union. Italy is by far the largest consumer country with imports of 14 420 tonnes and exports of well under 300 tonnes. According to the official statistics, Spain and France play an important role in Mediterranean shark trade but their catch from this area is totally marginal and, apparently, their fleets do not participate in the exploitation of these species.

Table 6 European Union imports and exports of shark in 1997


IMPORTS

EXPORTS


Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/Kg

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/Kg

Italy

14 389

35 189

2.44

284

693

2.44

France

7 323

15 550

2.12

1 564

5 472

3.50

Spain

7 218

10 058

1.39

12 390

24 183

1.95

UK

2 822

5 635

2.00

1 424

3 191

2.24

Germany

2 210

5 436

2.46

1 373

3 634

2.47

Netherlands

1 961

7 125

3.63

1 069

4 546

4.23

Denmark

1 482

2 297

1.55

888

3 960

4.46

Greece

1 100

1 593

1.45

18

57

3.17

Belgium

662

1 635

2.47

124

287

2.32

Portugal

652

994

1.53

1 758

2 458

1.40

Sweden

108

318

2.94

179

385

2.15

Austria

40

206

5.15

0

0

-

Finland

6

19

3.17

0

0

-

Ireland

1

4

4.00

330

295

0.89

Total EU

39 983

86 059

2.15

21 401

49 161

2.23

Source: Eurostat

Data used in this study requires some further explanation since Eurostat statistics on trade include trade with partners external to the EU as well as trade among EU countries. Therefore, total imports, or exports, refer to the sum of all imports/exports from EU and non EU countries. The data reported therefore contains a proportion of double counting and the amount double counted is the quantity imported by one EU countries and re-exported to another EU country. Therefore, in the Eurostat trade statistics, imports from outside the EU can be considered as net imports to EU although there may be marginal quantities re-exported to non EU countries. However, figures referring to internal exchange probably contain some double counting. Imports of sharks from the United States represent an important share of the total imports to the EU. The total trade flow from US (8 577 tonnes) accounts for about 41% of the total imports from non EU countries (21 051 tonnes) and it is by far the largest sharks exporter country to this area.

Table 7 European Union imports of shark from non-EU Mediterranean countries in 1997

Importer"

France

Italy

Greece

Portugal

Spain

Total

Exporter

Tonnes

Value

Tonne

Value

Tonne

Value

Tonne

Value

Tonne

Value

Tonne

Value

Turkey

0

0

12

41

16

30

0

0

0

0

28

71

Morocco

-

3

31

50

0

0

19

80

212

368

262

501

Algeria

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

4

4

4

Total

-

3

43

91

16

30

19

80

216

372

294

576

Source Eurostat
Value = ECU 1 000

As has been shown earlier, other Mediterranean countries also report some shark landings but they do not seem to be active in the shark trade. Available data show that only Morocco, Turkey and Algeria have some marginal trade with other Mediterranean countries. Moroccan production exported to Spain must be caught in Atlantic waters since no landings are officially reported in their Mediterranean harbours. Turkish exports to Italy and Greece are a marginal share of their production which was about 2 200 tonnes in 1996.

EU exports of sharks to non-EU Mediterranean countries is marginal, the only exception being the export of 265 tonnes from Spain to Algeria in 1997. It could be that trade flows are not officially reported but it is more likely that the figures in Tables 7 and 8 reflect the lack of any tradition of shark consumption in these countries.

Table 8 European Union exports of shark to non-EU Mediterranean countries in 1997

Exporter"

Italy

UK

Spain

Total

Importer

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

Slovenia

6

17

0

0

0

0

8

17

Croatia

1

2

1

3

0

0

2

5

Algeria

0

0

0

0

263

257

263

257

Total

7

19

1

3

263

257

273

279

Source: Eurostat

3.1 Shark trade in Italy

Italy is the largest importer of sharks in the Mediterranean and in the EU. Production and imports have been rising sharply in recent years. In the middle of the 1980s imports amounted to 6-7 000 tonnes per year and reported production was around 1 000 tonnes. The most recent figures (1997) show total imports of 14 420 tonnes, while only 287 tonnes were exported. As has been mentioned earlier, shark landings are subject to large fluctuations so, even if recent years showed a decrease from about 10 000 tonnes in 1994 to 2 659 tonnes in 1996, this is not necessarily a continuing trend. Taking the average annual landings over time to be about 5 000 tonnes, the total consumption of sharks in Italy can be estimated to be as high as 20 000 tonnes., which accounts for 2.5% of total Italian fish consumption (1.6% if aquaculture production is included).

Imports flow to Italy from 31 countries and Italian exports are absorbed by 12 countries. Over 70% of imported sharks are from four countries: Spain, Netherlands, France and Germany. Imports from EU countries account for over 80% and Italy is the most important market in the European Union. The largest quantities of sharks (Picked Dog fish and Smooth hound) are imported frozen from Spain, while France, Netherlands and Denmark export major quantities of fresh product.

According to ISTAT figures, total imports in 1996 amounted to 14 894 tonnes for a total value of US$36 185 600. (U$1=Lit1 780). Official statistics include two shark groups: Picked dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and Smooth hound (Mustelus mustelus) and "Other sharks". The two groups are recorded either as fresh-chilled or frozen. Frozen picked dogfish and Smooth-hound are the most important group imported to Italy (78.2% in quantity and 64.9% in value). The average price is about US$4.80kg for the fresh product, whatever the group, while it is about US$1.9/kg for the frozen product. Small quantities of fillets (268 tonnes in 1996) are also imported and their price was US$3.6/kg for fresh and US$3.3/kg for frozen.

Table 9 Italian imports and exports of shark in 1997

Country

Imports

Exports

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Spain

6 595

9 170

1.39

102

225

2.21

Netherlands

1 219

5 715

4.69

2

7

3.50

France

1 183

5 456

4.61

17

79

4.65

Germany

1 123

3 550

3.16

0

0

-

Portugal

615

820

1.33

0

0

-

UK

472

1 626

3.45

-

3

-

Denmark

359

2 176

6.06

-

1

-

Belgium

17

51

3.00

28

54

1.93

Austria

0

0

-

-

8

-

Greece

4

15

3.75

109

197

1.81

Sweden

4

23

5.75

0

0

-

Morocco

31

50

1.61

0

0

-

Turkey

12

41

3.42

0

0

-

Slovenia

0

0

-

6

17

2.83

Hungary

0

0

-

1

2

2.00

Croatia

0

0

-

1

2

2.00

Mauritania

72

114

1.58

0

0

-

Senegal

50

88

1.76

0

0

-

Guinea

3

6

2.00

0

0

-

Ghana

1

1

1.00

0

0

-

Angola

2

2

1.00

0

0

-

Somalia

4

6

1.50

0

0

-

Mauritius

121

495

4.09

0

0

-

South Africa

601

1 631

2.71

0

0

-

United States

262

733

2.98

0

0

-

Canada

22

72

3.27

0

0

-

Honduras

1

2

2.00

0

0

-

Ecuador

171

221

1.29

0

0

-

Peru

41

43

1.05

0

0

-

Chile

2

4

2.00

0

0

-

Argentina

438

827

1.89

0

0

-

Singapore

788

1 774

2.25

0

0

-

Republic of Korea

31

99

3.19

0

0

-

Japan

154

377

2.45

22

95

4.32

Intra - EU

11 591

28 603

2.47

254

576

2.27

Extra EU

2 807

6 586

2.35

30

117

3.90

Total world

14 398

35 189

2.44

284

693

2.44

Source: Eurostat

Fresh produce sold at auction markets command a much higher price. According to a TRAFFIC Report, smooth-hound and picked dogfish average prices in Rome were as high as US$8.8/kg in 1996, which is by far the highest value attributed along the Mediterranean coast. Production in southern regions commands much lower prices, 30% less, as the marketing channel is much longer and the species is not appreciated locally. Indeed, consumption is highly diversified depending on the area where it takes place. The north and north-eastern regions show a higher consumption rate and auction markets usually have these species sold on their premises.

3.2 Shark Trade in Spain

Official statistics do not report any shark catch in the Mediterranean regions of Spain but unofficial sources come to different conclusions. TRAFFIC experts (Del Cerro, Guzman and Quintanilla) estimate Spanish Mediterranean production of shark averaged 6 000 tonnes per annum from 1985-1991. In 1985 landings were estimated at 5 587 tonnes and in 1991 they were 6 879 tonnes. Shark production, as in any other Mediterranean country, is landed as a bycatch of trawling and longline fisheries.

The species landed are not reportedly significantly different from other Mediterranean countries. The report of the study group on Elasmobranchs (ICES CM 1989) estimated the annual Atlantic production to be as high as 20 000 tonnes in the second half of the 1980s with an average in the period 1978-1994 of about 10 000 tonnes. Production fluctuates considerably but landings are decreasing over time. Demand is consistent among Spanish consumers and a TRAFFIC report confirms that Spanish consumers in the Mediterranean area appreciate shark meat greatly, whatever its presentation. Fresh, frozen, steaks and fillets are consumed everywhere, even if prices for fresh products are higher and variable depending on the species considered. Shortfin Mako is the most valuable shark meat in the Mediterranean (US$5.3/kg) and its price can be compared to that for swordfish. Smooth Hound and Picked Dogfish also command relatively high prices (US$4.9/kg). As in most other countries, shark production depends on seasonal variations in vessels targeting other species so shark meat prices are very variable according to the state of the fish markets, the quantities landed, species etc.

Spain imports shark from 39 countries and exports, or re-exports, to 22. Total imports amount to 7 223 tonnes, 43.8% of this originates from other EU countries. The product imported is usually frozen and the average price is ECU1.39/kg, less than the average export price which is as high as ECU1.95/kg. Italy is the major importing country, taking 47% of the quantity and 32% by value of Spanish exports of sharks.

Table 10 Spanish imports and exports of shark in 1997

Country

Imports

Exports

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

France

84

173

2.06

15

41

2.73

Belgium

2

4

2.00

0

0

-

Netherlands

0

0

-

37

110

2.97

Germany

-

14

-

184

426

2.32

Italy

134

289

2.16

5 816

7 724

1.33

UK

1 560

2 979

1.91

130

146

1.12

Ireland

21

45

2.14

0

0

-

Denmark

0

0

-

0

0

-

Greece

0

0

-

193

257

1.33

Portugal

1 365

1 478

1.08

443

673

1.52

Ceuta and Melilla

0

0

-

14

12

0.86

Faeroe Islands

11

14

1.27

0

0

-

Morocco

212

368

1.74

0

0

-

Gibraltar

-

-

-

-

3

-

Seychelles

0

0

-

910

1 063

1.17

Mauritius

0

0

-

1 396

1 168

0.84

Madagascar

0

0

-

575

494

0.86

Algeria

4

4

1.00

263

259

0.99

Mauritania

251

382

1.52

0

0

-

Cape Verde

21

22

1.05

0

0

-

Senegal

58

117

2.02

0

0

-

Gambia

4

4

1.00

0

0

-

Guinea Bissau

216

346

1.60

0

0

-

Guinea

84

88

1.05

0

0

-

Sierra Leone

37

43

1.16

0

0

-

Ivory Coast

29

45

1.55

0

0

-

Ghana

45

71

1.58

0

0

-

Sao Tome

273

288

1.05

0

0

-

Gabon

15

15

1.00

0

0

-

Kenya

1

2

2.00

0

0

-

Angola

39

49

1.26

0

0

-

Mauritius

2

5

2.50

0

0

-

South Africa

28

43

1.54

0

0

-

Belize

268

458

1.71

0

0

-

Honduras

504

542

1.08

0

0

-

Panama

648

575

0.89

0

0

-

Cuba

230

179

0.78

132

276

2.09

Ecuador

18

35

1.94

0

0

-

Peru

246

491

2.00

0

0

-

Brazil

14

52

3.71

39

24

0.62

Chile

21

28

1.33

0

0

-

Uruguay

9

10

1.11

989

946

0.96

Argentina

28

54

1.93

0

0

-

United Arab Emirates

0

0

-

47

435

9.26

Thailand

0

0

-

24

63

2.63

Singapore

0

0

-

2

13

6.50

China

303

312

1.03

192

1 716

8.94

Republic of Korea

56

60

1.07

93

101

1.09

Japan

236

244

1.03

256

2 539

9.92

Hong Kong

0

0

-

633

5 681

8.97

Taiwan PC

141

127

0.90

0

0

-

Not determined

0

0

-

3

16

5.33

Intra EU

3 166

4 982

1.57

6 822

9 387

1.38

Extra EU

4 052

5 076

1.25

5 568

14 796

2.66

Total world

7 218

10 058

1.39

12 390

24 183

1.95

Source: Eurostat

3.3 Shark trade in France

France’s market for sharks is of one the most important in Europe. Shark consumption is widespread all over the country and consumers appreciate this product very much this product. It is sold in various guises. "Saumonette", the commercial name used for skinless meat of small spotted catshark, nursehound, and Squalidae in general, is associated with the consumption of salmon and is by far the commonest method of consuming shark in France. It has been estimated that French consumption of "saumonette" at home accounts for 6 500 tonnes (Roussette and saumonette, Linearires, 1996).

The quantity of sharks landed by the French fleet has always been important. FAO statisticss in the 1980s report about 35 000 tonnes of shark caught annually but in the following years the figure dropped down to about 20 000 tonnes. In 1997 imports reached 7 300 tonnes and they are becoming increasingly important as internal production is declining and exports, in particular to Italy, reduce the amount of shark for domestic consumption. The large amount of fresh sharks landed by the French fleet gives a competitive edge to this product. As such, fresh or chilled sharks are sold to the Italian market at US$6/kg and this price is usually higher than the prices set on the French market. Spanish traders also started to buy sharks in France recently.

The Mediterranean production is almost negligible and has never been important. Official statistics from FAO report landings of 63 tonnes in 1990 and 7 tonnes in 1997, almost all of them concerning Picked Dog fish. The IUCN/Shark Specialist Group reports that, even if detailed information is lacking, some evidence exists that a shark fishery off the Mediterranean western area is more important than has been officially reported.

France imports sharks from 21 countries and exports to 7 countries only. Total exports are also declining since the internal market is becoming more attractive to traders. The structure of imports makes the French market different from other European and Mediterranean countries. The United States is the largest exporter to France, accounting for 71% of the value of imports and about 38% of the total quantity. Italy is the largest importer from France and its share is about 84% of the total with 1 305 tonnes out of a total of 1 552 tonnes. It should be noted that the average import price is ECU1.08/kg, while the average export price is ECU3.51/kg. As already reported, the difference can be explained by the fact that imports are mainly frozen while exports are fresh or chilled.

Table 11 French imports and exports of shark in 1997

Country

Imports

Exports

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Spain

61

117

1.92

60

171

2.85

Netherlands

3

61

20.33

12

48

4.00

Germany

3

11

3.67

17

63

3.71

Portugal

21

33

1.57

29

32

1.10

UK

993

2 943

2.96

4

22

5.50

Denmark

114

369

3.24

0

0

-

Belgium

48

121

2.52

133

298

2.24

Italy

43

93

2.16

1 306

4 830

3.70

Sweden

5

15

3.00

0

0

-

Norway

24

11

0.46

3

9

3.00

Morocco

-

3

-

0

0

-

Ivory Coast

3

10

3.33

0

0

-

Congo

-

1

-

0

0

-

Senegal

4

9

2.25

0

0

-

United States

5 526

11 154

2.02

0

0

-

Canada

151

185

1.23

0

0

-

Trinidad

6

6

1.00

0

0

-

Panama

6

13

2.17

0

0

-

Ecuador

13

23

1.77

0

0

-

Venezuela

50

36

0.72

0

0

-

Oman

55

120

2.18

0

0

-

Vietnam

1

1

1.00

0

0

-

Taiwan PC

17

19

1.12

0

0

-

New Zealand

18

23

1.28

0

0

-

Intra-EU

1 448

3 93

2.72

1 561

5 463

3.50

Extra EU

5 875

11 617

1.98

3

9

3.00

Total world

7 323

15 550

2.12

1 564

5 472

3.50

Source: Eurostat

The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, as well as the health food sector are all involved in the processing of products containing sharkskin, liver oil, squalene or cartilage as a raw material. Among Mediterranean countries, France is the only one with a tradition in the use of squalene and liver oil for the production of cosmetics, perfumes and pharmaceutical products. Shark skin is also used in the manufacturing of handbags, wallets and other luxury items, while an attempt to produce shark cartilage capsules has been reported (Todisco, 1996) and shark fins have been found in some oriental restaurants and specialist food shops.

3.4 Shark trade in Greece

Greece participates in the shark trade, although this product has the lowest ranking in the grading of fish products among Greek consumers. Nevertheless, Greece imports more than 1 000 tonnes of sharks annually and its share is increasing over time. Production is reported to be around 750 tonnes in 1996, while it was about 335 tonnes in 1990. The figures on production and import show that interest in shark consumption is continuously and steeply increasing. Wholesale prices for dogfish are reported to be rather low compared to other Mediterranean markets. In the Athens wholesale market, the nominal prices show a continuous decrease from US$2.3/kg in 1990 to US$1.3/kg in 1994 (TRAFFIC Report), while a fresh dogfish steak in an Athens supermarket was priced US$8.75/kg in May 1996. Imports play a substantial role in Greek consumption and 17 countries export various shark species to Greece. Considering that the average price of imports is ECU1.44/kg, it can be concluded that most of the imports are frozen and the national fishing fleet provides for the market for fresh shark meat.

Table 12 Greek imports and exports of shark in 1997

Country

Imports

Exports

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

Tonnes

ECU x 1000

ECU/kg

France

12

23

1.92

0

0

-

Netherlands

21

35

1.67

0

0

-

Italy

163

289

1.77

17

52

3.06

Portugal

47

45

0.96

0

0

-

Spain

142

169

1.19

1

5

5.00

Turkey

16

30

1.88

0

0

-

Mauritania

3

5

1.67

0

0

-

Senegal

24

24

1.00

0

0

-

Guinea

3

6

2.00

0

0

-

Sierra Leone

5

9

1.80

0

0

-

Somalia

2

2

1.00

0

0

-

United States

229

306

1.34

0

0

-

Argentina

178

275

1.55

0

0

-

United Arab Emirates

8

9

1.13

0

0

-

Oman

67

70

1.05

0

0

-

Singapore

180

295

1.64

0

0

-

Intra EU

385

560

1.46

17

58

3.06

Extra EU

715

1 033

1.45

0

0

-

Total world

1 100

1 594

1.45

17

58

3.06

Source: Eurostat


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