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Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act Passes U.S. House

Shark lovers in the US are thankful for the vote on the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act in Congress this past week, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday!

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 737) passes the House this past week.  The goal is eliminating the sale, purchase, and possession of shark fins in the United States. The bill was Introduced by Representatives Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) and passed by a vote of 310-107.

“Sharks have existed for hundreds of millions of years on this planet, and yet these remarkable apex predators now face one of the biggest threats to their survival because of the demand for their fins. More than a quarter of shark species and their relatives are at risk of extinction.

“Passing legislation to clamp down on the global shark fin trade is essential if we are going to protect sharks and maintain functioning marine ecosystems. We are grateful to Representatives Sablan and McCaul for their steadfast leadership and urge the Senate to quickly pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act so that it can be signed into law.” 

Animal Welfare Institute President Cathy Liss

This is not the first measure the US Congress has decided on related to shark conservation and shark finning. In 2000, lawmakers passed the Shark Finning Prohibition Act. This banned the possession of shark fins in U.S. waters absent the rest of the shark’s body. Congress later passed the Shark Conservation Act in 2010. All fishermen in U.S. waters were required to bring sharks ashore whole, with fins attached.

The Bahamas is already a shark sanctuary. There is no shark fishing of any kind allowed. This makes our Bahamas Shark Diving some of the best in the world!

Read about Obama Creates First Marine Park in Atlantic.

say no to shark fin soup

Identifying Shark Fins

Take a look at this shark fin identification guide that was published by PEW in collaboration with Stony Brook University.

Download the publication here

 

no shark fin soup tiger beach

Restaurants Serving Shark Fin Soup

Many shark populations have faced steep declines due to years of exploitation. Their slow reproductive rates make them extremely vulnerable to extinction. The disappearance of sharks – apex predators in many ecosystems – causes dangerous imbalances in marine communities worldwide.

If you see shark fin products in a state where there is currently a ban (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington), please report it by contacting us so that we can verify and then add it to our list or point you to the proper oversight agency.

You can click on the map below to check out the Animal Welfare Institute’s page on Restaurants serving shark fin soup. The interactive map will allow you to click on any state and see which restaurants have this on their menu. See a restaurant missing from the list? Use this submission form to add it.

The disappearance of sharks—apex predators in many ecosystems—causes dangerous imbalances in marine communities worldwide.

Source: Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup | Animal Welfare Institute

no shark fin soup tiger beach

shark fin soup

Thousands of sharks slaughtered for their fins in Indonesia

Dead sharks of all sizes were photographed at the Karngsong fish auction in Indonesia’s West Java Province on Tuesday. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES.

Horrific images show thousands of dead sharks piled up on a market floor in Indonesia as workers hack off their fins. Sharks of all sizes were photographed at the Karngsong fish auction on June 21, in Indramayu, in Indonesia’s West Java Province. The country is one of the world’s largest shark catchers due to a demand for shark fins in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. In China shark fins are regarded as a delicacy and the fins are one of the world’s most valuable fish products. They are the main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is priced as high as £68 per bowl. The soup is a symbol of wealth, hospitality and status in China and is often consumed at special occasions such as weddings and banquets.

Source: Thousands of sharks slaughtered simply for their fins in Indonesia | Daily Mail Online

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016

Very proud of the 5 US senators for proposing the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.  Cory Booker (D, NJ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) hope to eliminate the selling of shark fins in every state in the nation.

Sharks are one of the ocean’s apex predators, meaning they control the rest of the food chain and countless interactions in the blue abyss. They regulate populations, as well as provide economic value for humans, like tourist boating trips. 


There are currently 11 states (TX, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, NY, OR, RI, CA, WA) as well as the territories of American Somoa, Guam, and the North Mariana Islands that have implemented a ban.

Sharks are one of the ocean’s apex predators, meaning they control the rest of the food chain and countless interactions in the blue abyss. They regulate populations, as well as provide economic value for humans, like tourist boating trips.

“Every year, it is estimated that over 70 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade, and fining is pushing some species of sharks to the brink of extinction,” Senator Booker said. “With this bipartisan measure, America can become a global leader by shutting down the domestic market for shark fins. Sharks play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems, and we must do more to protect them.”


If the act is approved, it will remove the United States contribution of shark fins to the global market, lowering demand and hopefully creating a lull in finning. It will also allow for stronger enforcement of the “no finning” ban in the United States and put the country in a stronger position to advocate internationally for abolishing the fin trade in other countries.

Please take 60 seconds to electronically sign this letter to congress through Oceana’s website.

Letter to Congress

Dear Members of Congress:


I am writing to urge you to support the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, which would prohibit the sale and trade of shark fins in the United States. Sharks have been on our planet for over 420 million years – 200 million years before dinosaurs walked the Earth. Although sharks have survived major mass extinction events, human activities including overfishing, bycatch and the demand for shark fins now pose the greatest threat to their survival.

In fact, every year, fins from up to 73 million sharks enter the global shark fin trade. Many of these sharks have been finned. Shark finning involves cutting the fins off the body of the shark and saving them for sale, while dumping the body of the shark back into the sea to drown, bleed to death or be eaten alive. This cruel, wasteful practice puts many shark species at risk of extinction.

Although the practice of shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, the United States still participates in the shark fin trade. Shark fins continue to be imported into the United States either from countries that do not have similar shark finning restrictions, from sharks finned on the high seas, or from illegal shark finning in U.S. waters. Since 2010, the United States has imported fins from 11 countries, five of which do not have any type of finning ban.

Many of the sharks targeted for their fins have long lifespans, mature slowly, and produce relatively few young, making them especially vulnerable to overexploitation and population loss. In fact, more than 70 percent of the most common species in the fin trade are at a high or very high risk of extinction. Due to the difficulty in identifying shark species based on detached and processed fins, it is easy for threatened species to end up in the shark fin market.

What is equally troubling is that the trade data reported to the FAO does not match NOAA’s own fin data. For example, between 2000 and 2011, NOAA reported that, on average, the United States imported 75,000 pounds of fins every year, yet the total number reported as having been exported to the U.S. by the exporting countries was a staggering 580,000 pounds —more than seven times NOAA’s amount!

The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, introduced by Senator Booker (D-NJ), Senator Capito (R-WV), Representative Sablan (D-MP) and Representative Royce (R-CA) would create a nationwide prohibition on the trade of shark fins, therefore reinforcing the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.

Eleven states and three territories already have passed bills to ban the trade of shark fins—Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Rhode Island, Guam, the North Mariana Islands and American Samoa. A number of leading companies have also banned the selling and shipment of shark fin products, including GrubHub, Amazon, Disney, UPS, American Airlines and Hilton Worldwide. Please join them by supporting the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.

Sincerely,

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Source: 5 US senators take a stand for sharks – Business Insider

 

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Here’s another side to the story: The Shark Fin Ban That Should Be Banned

shark fin protest

Cathay Pacific bans shipments of shark fin

Cathay Pacific statement on shark's fin carriage

22 Jun 2016

Cathay Pacific has a long standing commitment to play our role in a more sustainable world. We were one of the first airlines in the world to raise the awareness of the unsustainability of the global shark trade.

The airline has not approved any shipments for shark’s fin for the past year since we instituted a policy agreed with two highly respected international shark conservation agencies. The policy states that any request for shipment of shark or shark products must be assessed by an external panel of acknowledged experts.

Based on our procedure for assessing whether shark products are sustainably sourced, we have rejected all 15 shipment requests for shark-related products in the last 12 months.

We understand the community’s desire to promote responsible and sustainable marine sourcing practices, and this remains important to Cathay Pacific’s overall sustainable development goals.

Therefore, on the issue of shark’s fin, with immediate effect we are happy to agree to ban the carriage.  We will continue to review this practice, as we do all our sustainable development policies.

shark fin protest

Alex Hofford, a wildlife campaigner for WildAid said: “A responsible corporate like Cathay Pacific should never be seen to be a link in the supply chain for a criminal trade. That’s why we are so happy that Cathay has done the right thing by no longer carry any shark fin or shark products. Shipping sharks by air is not just an issue of sustainability, but ethics and legality.”

Source: Cathay Pacific bans shipments of shark fin amid pressure from conservation groups | Hong Kong Free Press

shark fins for soup

Two Men Plead Guilty to Federal Shark Violations

Agents found 11 whole sharks located on the deck and a hidden compartment in the bow of the vessel that contained 12 large sacks of shark fins totaling 2,073 fins.  The bodies of the fins found in the sacks were not found on the vessel.

These two men were arrested back in 2012 when they were caught finning sharks, red handed. They just recently pled guilty to the charges and received their sentencing.

  • The pair were ordered to pay a fine to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) totaling $45,000.
  • The men were also placed on two years of probation and during which they agreed to not transfer any of their federal shark directed permits.
  • They also further agreed that if they are determined to be in violation of any provision of the Magnusson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act during this two-year period, they will surrender all of their federal shark directed permits for a period of nine months.
  • Lastly the men had their Louisiana state shark permits and set line licenses revoked for life.

Pretty light, we think. What about you? Should they have paid a heavier fine? Comment below.

Source: Two Men Plead Guilty to Federal Shark Violations | Shark Year Magazine

shark finning

Removal of Sharks Has Far Reaching Impacts on the Environment

The decline of sharks will cut short our supply of seafood and affect human survival. This is a matter of food security, and if the present trade of sharks continues, businesses will exhaust supply of fins and of sharks forever. 

“The current exploitation of sharks is simply not sustainable. Sharks cannot reproduce fast enough to cope with the high demand and many shark populations are on the verge of collapse,” Chitra explained. 

Source: Removal of Sharks Has Far Reaching Impacts on the Environment and Food Supply

shark fin soup

Restaurants Serving Shark Fin Soup | Animal Welfare Institute

shark fin soup

Many shark populations have faced steep declines due to years of exploitation. Their slow reproductive rates make them extremely vulnerable to extinction. The disappearance of sharks – apex predators in many ecosystems – causes dangerous imbalances in marine communities worldwide.

If you see shark fin products in a state where there is currently a ban (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington), please report it by contacting us so that we can verify and then add it to our list or point you to the proper oversight agency.

Read the full article, find the list of restaurants and learn more at: Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup | Animal Welfare Institute

state of the global market for shark products

State of the Global Market for Shark Products

A recent publication from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides a detailed and thorough reports of the world’s shark fin trade. In addition to the common notions of shark finning and shark fin soup, the 187 page report touches on all aspects of the global trade of shark/elasmobranch products such as livers or liver oil, shark or ray skin, cartilage, jaws or rostra, or manta or mobula gill rakers. It offers country specific data on import and export as well as economic implications of the trade.

The report is available in PDF form and can be viewed in it’s entirety.  Just click on the image below for a copy of the full publication and feel free to post your comments at the end of this blog.

state of the global market for shark products

Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

This publication focuses primarily on providing an updated picture of the world market for shark products using data that in many cases have only become available in recent years, such as origin and destination data. Where data are still lacking, an effort has been made to estimate the relevant figures through examination of the trade databases of the world’s major traders of shark products. This increased availability of data is believed to have allowed a more accurate – and up-to-date – initial evaluation of the relative importance of each country or territory, thus providing a more solid basis on which to target investigative efforts. The country-by-country assessments of shark fin trade recording practices also constitute another important area of focus that had not previously been addressed. However, given the primary objective of this study (above), those details that are necessarily not captured in such a broad-scale review will need to be identified and elucidated in regional or country-specific studies.

Source: FAO GLOBEFISH –

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