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April 11, 2008


Two weeks ago, I wrote about the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to throw out penalties against a fishing vessel carrying 64,695 pounds of shark fins in U.S. waters. Shipping a cargo full of shark fins without sharks is illegal in the United States, but the King Diamond II sailed through a loophole that allowed it to carry fins it had gathered from other ships.

Something good has come out of this: The decision has galvanized pressure to end the brutal practice of shark finning, which kills tens of millions of sharks annually, including many species already threatened by extinction.

Late on Wednesday, Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) introduced the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, which will not only require all sharks to be landed with their fins, but allow the U.S. to require any other countries importing sharks to do the same. It’s an intermediate step in ensuring protection for sharks worldwide, but a vital step all the same.