Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Senate Bill Outlaws Shark Finning

Restricts Shark Fin Trading

On Monday the Senate passed legislation that will promote the conservation of sharks internationally and provide a more equal playing field for U.S. fishermen. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), closes loopholes in a ban on shark finning imposed by then-president Clinton.

First, vessels are prohibited from having custody, control, or possession of shark fins without the corresponding carcass. Second, it is a violation of law if the total weight of shark fins landed or found on board exceeds 5 percent of the total weight of shark carcasses. Third, and most particularly, all sharks landed must have their fins naturally attached.

With more than 90% of the sharks already absent from world oceans, this is legislation is a big step for sharks. If one is going to kill and harvest a shark, one must use the whole shark. The bill legislates public shame under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act with the identification and prominent listing of nations that have fishing vessels that have not adopted a regulatory program for the conservation of sharks that is similar to the U.S.

More good news on sharks - the Shark Conservation Act has passed the House, and now only needs President Obama's signature to become law!

Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud in their film Oceans show from underwater the dropping into the ocean of a shark with dorsal and tail fin cut off. The shark is still alive and sinks despite attempting to swim. The cameraman/diver follows the shark down to a sandy bottom where the shark continues to try to swim to no avail. Such images are not easily forgotten. Now shark finning legislation enacted by the Senate and House outlaws such terrible treatment of sharks.

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