Britain embroiled in row with Iceland to save the world’s oldest living sharks — some more than 400 years old
BRITAIN is embroiled in a row with Iceland to save the world’s oldest living sharks — some more than 400 years old.
The UK is leading the charge to ban the catching of Greenland sharks amid growing fears they are heading for extinction.Britain is embroiled in a row with Iceland to save the Greenland sharks, the world’s oldest living sharks — some are more than 400 years old[/caption]
Around 1,000 are slaughtered every year for their meat — eaten as a dried delicacy.
But Iceland scuppered a joint bid by the UK, EU and Canada to stop them being killed.
Some of those alive today may have been around since the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth carrying pilgrims to America.
Environment minister Lord Goldsmith said last night: “It’s a disgrace that these magnificent animals — thought to be the oldest vertebrates in the world — are still being hunted.”
The 21ft sharks, weighing up to 3,000lbs, do not become sexually mature until around 150 years old, meaning if they are caught too early they cannot breed.
Lord Goldsmith said: “It’s disappointing Iceland blocked the bid to ban landings of the Greenland shark. The UK will be working to push for this ban.”
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The creatures were heavily fished in the first half of the 20th century for liver oil.
Today, they are fished by both Iceland and Greenland for their meat.
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