A new bill titled the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act was introduced last week on March 9, 2017, by Representatives Ed Royce of California and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan who represents the North Marina Islands. The bill also has 23 bipartisan original co-sponsors.
The demand for fins, usually used as an ingredient in shark fin soup, considered a luxury by many, but dangerous for humans and sharks alike, is among the biggest threats facing shark populations around the world which are nearing extinction.
While shark finning, the cutting off of a shark’s fins and discarding its body at sea, is illegal in U.S. waters, according to Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization in the world, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the United States. If passed, The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act will enact a national ban on the buying and selling of shark fins.
“The United States can set an example for the rest of the world by shutting down its market for shark fins, which are often harvested by leaving these animals to die a slow and painful death at the bottom of the ocean. The bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act is a step towards eradicating shark finning for good,” said U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Oceana, which works to protect and restore the world’s oceans through targeted policy campaigns, conducted a poll last year that revealed that eight in 10 Americans support a national ban on the buying and selling of shark fins.
It also reported that “a nationwide ban would reduce the international fin trade, improve upon current enforcement capabilities and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.”
“Americans don’t want shark fins in the U.S. Eleven states have already passed shark fin bans, and now it is time for national action,” said Lora Snyder, campaign director at Oceana on the day the bill was introduced. “Healthy shark populations support healthy ocean ecosystems, which, in turn, contribute millions of dollars to economies around the world. The bill introduced today will remove the United States from the shark fin trade altogether, a huge step in the right direction for shark conservation. We commend Representatives Royce and Sablan for their leadership in introducing this legislation that will serve as an example for shark conservation worldwide.”
Discovery Channel, Landry’s Inc and Lokai are among the 132 businesses that support the legislation; along with 126 non-profits, nine aquariums and numerous recreational fishing interests.
Photo Credits: The Guardian, Shark Stewards
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