WASHINGTON – Today, more than 80 non-profit and conservation groups sent a letter calling on Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, which would ban the trade of shark fins in the United States. While the act of shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the country. It is estimated fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year, putting some species at risk of extinction. To-date, more than 200 businesses, non-profits, associations and scientific organizations, representing over 1 million Americans from across the country, have officially endorsed the legislation.
Supporters of the legislation include more than 60 businesses, over 100 non-profits, seven aquariums and multiple fishing interests, including the American Sportfishing Association, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, the Billfish Foundation, Guy Harvey Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, Discovery Channel, Landry’s Inc, Lokai and Sea World. Earlier this month, Oceana released a new poll that revealed eight in 10 Americans support a national ban on the buying and selling of shark fins.
“Oceana applauds the more than 200 organizations that are standing up for sharks and calling for a trade ban now. These groups join the 81 percent of Americans who support this bipartisan bill to help end the demand for shark fins, which is decimating shark populations worldwide,” said Lora Snyder, campaign director at Oceana. “Again and again, Americans are telling Congress that we do not want shark fins in the United States.”
Below are excerpts from several of the endorsement letters sent on behalf of the bill from individuals and organizations:
The American Sportfishing Association:
“The 11 million Americans who go saltwater fishing every year spend roughly $27 billion in pursuit of fun and fish. That spending fuels 450,000 jobs in the U.S. Clearly, saltwater sportfishing is big business. Sustaining this level of saltwater sportfishing and the commerce it pumps into our coastal communities in New Jersey and beyond requires effective, science-based fishery management and conservation of our resources. Shark finning and possession of shark fins have no place in this country and are exactly the sort of practice that can degrade the quality of opportunities required for saltwater sportfishing to continue to thrive.”
Jim Abernathy’s Scuba Adventures:
“As a shark diving enterprise, Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures, based in South Florida, our business relies directly upon a thriving shark population. Our company services more than 4,400 visitors annually on shark diving expeditions and is a leader in interacting with some of the world’s largest predatory sharks…We here at Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures support the Shark Fin Trade Elimination act and believe that Congress should follow the lead of eleven states (Texas, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, and Washington) and three territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the North Mariana Islands) that have already stepped up to ban the trade of shark fin products.”
Seaworld Parks & Entertainment, The Humane Society of the United States and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation:
“The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would strengthen federal laws against the bloody and wasteful practice of shark finning and takes vital steps toward protecting sharks from cruelty as well as preserving our oceans’ fragile ecosystems…We pledge our combined support to the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, and offer our assistance to educate lawmakers, as well as the public, about this cruel practice and about the positive impacts of a healthy shark population worldwide.”
More than 80 NGOs, including Oceana, EarthJustice, Fin Free, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, WildAid and the League of Conservation Voters:
“Just as rhino and elephant populations have declined due to the demand for their horns and tusks, shark populations have declined due to the demand for their fins. The United States has banned the trade of rhino horns and ivory but continues to allow the buying and selling of shark fins… the SFTEA would create a nationwide prohibition on the trade of shark fins that would protect sharks, remove the United States from the fin trade, and empower the United States to encourage other countries to do the same.”
In June, Oceana released a report outlining the scientific and economic arguments for passing a federal ban on the buying and selling of shark fin products, demonstrating that a nationwide ban would reduce the international fin trade, improve upon current enforcement capabilities and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.
To learn more about Oceana’s work to protect sharks, please visit www.oceana.org/finbannow.