Oceana North America is reporting that the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 yesterday, putting an end (hopefully) to the terrible practice of shark finning. This act, introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in April, would require all sharks caught in United States waters to be landed with their fins still attached to their bodies.
Here is the response made by Oceana on Senate Committee Passes Bill to End Shark Finning in U.S.:
“Shark management in the U.S. has suffered for long enough,” said Beth Lowell, federal policy director at Oceana. “It’s time to enact this shark finning bill into law.”
Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring. The Act would also close a loophole that allows the transfer of fins at sea as a way to get around current law. Additionally, the bill would allow the United States to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous.
“Finning is threatening shark populations worldwide,” said Elizabeth Griffin, marine scientist at Oceana. “The U.S. should be a leader in helping to solve the problem of shark finning.”
This is something I can get quite passionate about. The finning of sharks is a terrible and cruel practice that is very popular in Asian countries. The shark is caught, its fins are cut off, and the still living shark is thrown back into the ocean since the fins are the only valuable portion. Sharks are very slow reproducers since they have low fecundity and mature later in life. Banning this horrific act will hopefully boost shark populations, which is a lot more beneficial than many people recognize.