Today, U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, unveiled the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act which would make the possession, sale, and purchase of shark fins in the United States illegal acts.
“Shark finning, which leaves these animals to die a slow and painful death at the bottom of the ocean, is a cruel practice that needs to be stopped. When the United States leads, others follow. We should set an example by eliminating the shark fin trade rather than providing a market to incentivize this illicit activity,” said Chairman Royce.
“To end shark finning, we need to end the demand for shark fins. Today, the United States took an important step towards achieving this. We applaud the leadership of the bill’s co-sponsors today in helping to end the shark fin trade in the United States," said Lora Snyder, Campaign Director at Oceana.
Actor and activist Morgan Freeman joined Chairman Royce at the bill unveiling.
Oceana, the leading ocean conservation advocacy group, released a new report today demonstrating why Congress should pass a federal ban on the buying and selling of shark fin products. According to the report, the nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins would impede international fin trade, reduce the financial gains made through finning, and improve the enforcement of current finning bans.
Key findings from the report include:
- Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year, putting some species at risk of extinction.
- Five of the 11 countries that export fins to the United States have no shark finning bans in place, making it likely that fins coming into the United States are from sharks that have been finned.
- There are significant discrepancies in the government's estimates of the number of metric tons of shark fins that are actually entering and leaving the United States.