Less than one week after passing the state Assembly, the Delaware state Senate has signed on to a bill banning the trade of shark fins within the state’s borders.
The states spanning the entire West Coast, plus Hawaii and Illinois, already have shark fin bans in place. In Maryland, a similar bill was just signed into law today by Governor Martin O’Malley, and the New York Legislature is considering a ban as well.
The gruesome practice of shark finning—slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body overboard, often while still alive—is illegal in the United States. But shark fin soup remains a pricey Asian delicacy, often selling for up to $100 a bowl, and fins can be imported from other countries where the practice is legal.
A study released in Marine Policy earlier this spring estimates that 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, a number representing nearly 7 percent of the worldwide shark population. Sharks simply cannot reproduce fast enough to withstand this enormous pressure, leading to a 99 percent reduction in some populations.
“Healthy ocean ecosystems depend on healthy shark populations, but the demand for shark fins is driving these vulnerable predators to the brink of extinction,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana.
Oceana thanks Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow) and Sen. Robert Venables (D-Laurel) for their efforts to protect sharks and preserve a healthy ocean by sponsoring this important legislation.