Swimming in the Right Direction: Senate Advances Bill to Ban Shark Fins Across the United States

I received this article in my email today from Oceana.org and felt it was worth passing along.

Press Release Date

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Location: Washington, D.C.
Contact: Amelia Vorpahl: avorpahl@oceana.org 202-467-1968, 202-476-0632 (cell)

WASHINGTON –Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act (S. 793), which would ban the buying and selling of processed shark fins in the United States.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R- W. Va.). While shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, shark fins – including imports from countries that allow finning – continue to be bought and sold throughout the U.S. The demand for shark fins is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world.

Oceana applauded today’s vote and released the following statement from campaign director Lora Snyder:

“Oceana commends the Senate Commerce Committee for listening to the majority of Americans and taking a stand against shark fins. This piece of legislation represents an opportunity to reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation and is a step in the right direction for the United States to be removed from the fin trade altogether.

Worldwide, sharks are under attack – from humans. Much like rhino and elephant populations have been decimated due to the global market for their horns and tusks, sharks are targeted for their fins, and it is equally as devastating. In fact, some shark populations have declined more than 90 percent in recent decades due to the demand for their fins.

We urge Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act before it’s too late.”


The global shark fin trade has led to the wasteful and inhumane practice of shark finning – cutting the fins off of a shark and discarding its body at sea, often still alive, only to drown, bleed to death or be eaten alive. Some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent in recent decades due to overfishing. Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year, and more than 70 percent of the 14 most common shark species involved in the Hong Kong trade are considered at high or very high risk of extinction. Shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, however shark fins can legally be bought and sold throughout the U.S.

In March, Oceana released an independent report finding that shark-related dives in Florida generated more than $221 million in revenue and fueled over 3,700 jobs in 2016. This stands in stark contrast with the total U.S. shark fin export market ($1.03 million in 2015). In fact, over 100 dive-business owners from the state of Florida sent a letter to the Florida delegation urging them to support the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.

Supporters of a national ban on shark fins include 240 businesses, 129 non-profits, nine aquariums and multiple recreational fishing interests. Last year, Oceana released a poll revealing that eight in 10 Americans support a national ban on the buying and selling of shark fins. Additionally, last month, more than 150 scientists from around the world sent a letter to Congress urging the passage of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.

To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org/FinBanNow.

Make Shark Finning Illegal [Digital Image] Retrieved from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/
This is a huge step in the right direction for Washington. This current administration has not exactly been supportive of conservation movements, so bills like this are so important right now. If this passes, the fight isn’t over. You can make a difference for marine ecosystems by calling your Congress man or woman and tell them that you care about the quality of our waters! Sharks, rays, and other marine organisms cannot speak or be represented in Congress. They need your voice. Get involved and stand up for sharks.

The new Ocean For Sharks Shop is open! There’s handmade ocean inspired plush animals, canvas paintings, and of course my children’s book, Winifred the Wondrous Whale Shark, available in print and PDF. Be sure to stop by. Remember proceeds benefit shark research and conservation with a donation to Project AWARE!

Please share and and leave comments if so inclined. I always encourage open discussion on conservation issues!


Featured Image Source

United States Capitol [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg

Literature Cited

Vorpahl, A. (2017, May 18). Senate Commerce Committee Advances Bill to Ban Shark Fins Nationwide. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://usa.oceana.org/press-releases/senate-commerce-committee-advances-bill-ban-shark-fins-nationwide

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