Maryland made history today by becoming the first East Coast state to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. They join the entire West Coast, as well as Illinois and Hawaii, in banning the fin trade, which drives the cruel and unnecessary act of shark finning and is contributing to the near-extinction of many shark species.
Shark finning, slicing off a shark’s fins often while still alive, is illegal in the U.S., however there is still a demand here for the pricy fins to be used as an ingredient in shark fin soup. These bills target this demand for fins, which often that lead to the U.S. importing shark fins from other countries, many of which have little to no shark protections in place.
Sharks have survived in our oceans for hundreds of millions of years, however they have not evolved yet to survive human exploitation. Oceana commends Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley for signing this critical piece of legislation, and calls on policymakers in Delaware and New York to do the same and protect the world’s sharks.