The information released today by the Associação Natureza Portugal (ANP), in Portugal associated with the international “World Wide Fund for Nature” (WWF), appears in the report of the organization's first assessment of sharks and rays, with the support of the Oceano Azul Foundation.

Regarding the results, the ANP / WWF calls for the creation of a national action plan for the management and conservation of sharks and rays, which puts Portugal in the European leadership of the protection of these species, says in a statement. The environmental protection organisation says that the report “Sharks and rays: Guardians of the ocean in crisis”, is the first comprehensive study on the state of shark and rays populations in Portugal, on their fishing, trade and policies. According to the analysis, "overfishing and inadequate protection are threatening the 117 species of sharks, rays and chimeras (cartilaginous fish) existing in the Portuguese sea, although these key species are essential to the health and well-being of the ocean".

In addition to being one of the countries that catches the most species, Portugal is also in the first place of imports and exports of shark and ray fish in Europe (8th and 6th place in the world, respectively), which is why ANP / WWF asks consumers to have an “active role” and avoid eating rays or sharks until fishing is proven to be sustainable. “In Portugal, sharks and rays are being caught unsustainably. A quarter of all landings (by weight) of the Portuguese fleet in the last 30 years, correspond to species that are currently threatened, three quarters of the species fished have their populations declining and seven historically fished species are now critically endangered, only a step away from extinction ”, emphasises the association in the communiqué.

Ângela Morgado, executive director of ANP / WWF, says, quoted in the document, that the way of fishing in Portugal is threatening sharks and rays, and argues that to avoid an ocean without sharks and rays “the Portuguese Government must take the European leadership on this issue, moving towards low-impact and selective fishing, and becoming the first Member State to create a National Action Plan for these species ”, and until there is such a plan, she adds, reducing consumption is the only possible protection, a reason that led the organisation to propose a commitment to citizens to say "no" to the consumption of sharks and rays.