Today, U.S. Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP) introduced the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 1456) to make the possession, sale, and purchase of shark fins illegal acts in the United States.
“The United States can set an example for the rest of the world by shutting down its market for shark fins, which are often harvested by leaving these animals to die a slow and painful death at the bottom of the ocean. While California led the way with a state-wide ban, there are still almost 40 states where the purchase of shark fins is legal. The bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act is needed to eradicate shark finning for good,” said Chairman Royce.
“Americans don’t want shark fins in the U.S. Eleven states have already passed bans on fins, and now we need to take this movement nationwide,” said Lora Snyder, campaign director at Oceana. “Healthy shark populations support healthy ocean ecosystems, which, in turn, contribute millions of dollars to economies around the world. The bill introduced today will remove the United States from the shark fin trade altogether, a huge step in the right direction for shark conservation."
The demand for fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world. Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year, and more than 70 percent of the most common shark species involved with the fin trade are considered at high or very high risk of extinction. While shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the U.S. and imported through California ports. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act eliminates the market for shark fins on a 50-state basis.
Actor and activist Morgan Freeman previously joined Chairman Royce at an event on Capitol Hill in support of the cause of banning the sale of shark fins.