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ups bans shark fins

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.

shark fin ban thresher

The Shark Fin Ban That Should Be Banned

Here’s a rather interesting and unexpected take on the proposed shark fin elimination act of 2016, currently co-sponsored by 7 US senators.  There are a number of shark scientists and conservationist that believe this bill, in it’s current form, is the wrong approach.

In a letter to Senator Bill Nelson, Bob Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, outlines his objections. At best, it’s unnecessary, he says. At worst, it harms rather than helps shark populations.

The thinking here is that shark finning is already illegal in the United States.  Returning to shore with shark fins and no shark body means you’ll end up in court, for sure.  The “fins attached” policy is the gold standard to ensure that there is no finning taking place.

There are many sharks species that are completely legal to catch as of now.  When those sharks are brought in to shore, the meat is sold just like an other fish, in addition the the fins, liver oil, skin, etc.  The whole shark is used and nothing goes to waste.

The proposed ban would change that. The meat could still be eaten or sold, but any fins would have to be tossed overboard, thrown into the trash, or used for display or research purposes by a museum, college, or university, to avoid breaking the law. “It’s going in the opposite direction from the goal of any fishery,” says Hueter. That is, to “utilize as much as you can, and throw away as little as you have to.”

This would effectively eliminate Americans from the shark fin trade which would, in turn, just give more opportunity for other countries that fill the gap.  This would likely be countries that participate in the illegal fin trade.  Hueter also notes that when it comes to shark fins, the United States is a small drop in a vast ocean of trade; only three percent of the Asian imports hail from its waters. “Shutting down the US supply … will have no real impact on this market.”  This is unlike the ban of the sale of elephant ivory that took place in 2014.  At that time, the US was a major consumer of elephant ivory so the ban was effective at turning the tide.

In summary, it would seem that as long as it’s legal to catch sharks in the US, some feel that it would be extremely wasteful to not allow the sale of the fins from those same sharks.  It’s not shark finning if the entire shark is brought to market.  This bill will not ban catching sharks for commercial reasons.  It will just make the sale of the fins illegal.  Stopping any shark fins from being imported or exported to/from the US would have a much greater impact.

Here is Oceana’s video making the case for the passage of the bill:

Read the full text of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 here.
Read the full article in Hakai Magazine here: The Shark Fin Ban That Should Be Banned | Hakai Magazine

shark fins for soup

Shark Crimes: How DNA Helps Fight Fin Trade


Humans kill some 100 million sharks annually, largely for shark fin soup. Some shark species, like the oceanic whitetip, have declined up to 99 percent.

To find out how new trade restrictions are affecting the global shark fin trade, shark geneticist Demian Chapman is using DNA to get an accurate picture of how they’re caught and traded, as well as the role they play in our oceans.

“The same techniques that are used for solving crimes,” said Chapman, a Pew marine fellow, “are the exact same ones we use to solve crimes involving wildlife.”

Click here for more information on Chapman’s shark work.

shark fishing nets

Read about PEW fighting for Sharks

shark fins

The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016

114th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 3095

        To prohibit sale of shark fins, and for other purposes.
_______________________________________________________________________

                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             June 23, 2016

 Mr. Booker (for himself, Mrs. Capito, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. McCain, Ms. 
 Cantwell, and Ms. Murkowski) introduced the following bill; which was 
  read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                             Transportation
_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

        To prohibit sale of shark fins, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 
2016''.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON SALE OF SHARK FINS.

    (a) Prohibition.--Except as provided in section 3, no person shall 
possess, trade, distribute, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, 
purchase, import, or export shark fins or products containing shark 
fins.
    (b) Penalty.--For purposes of section 308(a) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1858(a)), a 
violation of this section shall be treated as an act prohibited by 
section 307 of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1857).

SEC. 3. EXCEPTIONS.

    A person may possess a shark fin that was taken lawfully under a 
State, territorial, or Federal license or permit to take or land 
sharks, if the shark fin is separated from the shark in a manner 
consistent with the license or permit and is--
            (1) destroyed or discarded;
            (2) retained by the license or permit holder for a 
        noncommercial purpose;
            (3) used for noncommercial subsistence purposes in 
        accordance with State or territorial law; or
            (4) used solely for display or research purposes by a 
        museum, college, or university, or other person under a State 
        or Federal permit to conduct noncommercial scientific research.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Import.--The term ``import'' has the same meaning that 
        term has under section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
        Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1802).
            (2) Shark.--The term ``shark''--
                    (A) except as provided in subparagraph (B), means 
                any species of the subclass Elasmobranchii; and
                    (B) does not include--
                            (i) any stock of the species Mustelus canis 
                        (smooth dogfish) or Squalus acanthias (spiny 
                        dogfish) which is managed pursuant to a fishery 
                        management plan prepared under section 303 of 
                        the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
                        Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1853); or
                            (ii) any species in the superorder Batoidea 
                        that is managed pursuant to a fishery 
                        management plan prepared under section 303 of 
                        the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
                        Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1853).
            (3) Shark fin.--The term ``shark fin'' means the raw, 
        dried, or otherwise processed detached fin of a shark, or the 
        raw, dried, or otherwise processed detached tail of a shark.

SEC. 5. STATE AUTHORITY.

    Nothing in this Act may be construed to preclude, deny, or limit 
any right of a State or territory to adopt or enforce any regulation or 
standard that is more stringent than a regulation or standard in effect 
under this Act.

gdlr_rp

shark fins

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

 

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

silky shark diving bahamas

Pew Commends Broad Global Support for Proposed Shark and Ray Protections

According to PEW’s website, silky sharks, bigeye thresher sharks, common thresher sharks, and pelagic thresher sharks are particularly vulnerable throughout their habitat. Whether it’s from targeted shark fisheries, by-catch, or the extreme levels of unregulated/illegal fishing, these species have suffered dramatic population declines, around 70%.

CITES is recognized globally as one of the most effective and best-enforced international conservation agreements. It provides protection to more than 30,000 species around the world and has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of many plants and animals.  Votes on the proposed listings for thresher and silky sharks and mobula rays will take place at the CITES meeting in Johannesburg in September.

Source: Pew Commends Broad Global Support for Proposed Shark and Ray Protections

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

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