On November 20, the House of Representatives passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. The bill aims to make it illegal to sell, buy or possess shark fins or any product containing shark fins, except for certain dogfish fins. The bill was led by Representatives Gregorio Sablan and Michael McCaul.
A previous law protected the act and possession of shark finning in the United States, but this goes a step further to stop domestic trade of shark fins. Up to 73 million sharks are finned across the globe, according to some estimates. When sharks are finned, they are usually put back into the ocean, hurt, sometimes suffocating or bleeding to death. According to an email sent to One Green Planet by Oceana, the shark fin export market was worth $1 million in the United States in 2016.
Rep. Gregario Sablan said of the passage of the bill, “Today, the House has finally moved to get our country out of the devastating shark fin trade by advancing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act.
I thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and especially my good friend, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, for working tirelessly with me on the bill.
Our legislation is an effective, no-cost way to remove the United States from the harmful shark fin trade that contributes to the loss of up to 73 million sharks each year.
Three territories and a dozen states already have a ban in their laws. It’s high time the House has joined them, and it is my hope the Senate quickly acts so we can end our contribution to the global trade of shark fins.”
His college Rep. Michael McCaul added, “Sharks play a vital role in our marine ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the overall health of our ocean. The survival of these majestic creatures is of great importance and this bill will help ensure they are around for decades to come. I am proud to work alongside colleagues who have taken a stand against this atrocity today.”
Animal protection groups including the Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Wellness Action applauded the bill. Senators Cory Booker and Shelly Moore Capita introduced a companion bill into the Senate. It’s already been approved in the committee.
Sign this petition to tell your senators to pass the bill.
This article was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 21 November 2019.