Historic legislation passed in December 2022 banned the buying and selling of shark fins in the U.S., thereby removing the U.S. from the global shark fin trade.
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HEAVY OPPOSITION TO THE SHARK FIN TRADE
Supporters of a shark fin ban include 13 U.S. states, 3 territories, 47 airlines, 22 shipping companies, 15 major corporations and almost 700 U.S. businesses and organizations. According to a 2016 national poll, 8 in 10 Americans support a national ban on the buying and selling of shark fins. Additionally, more than 150 scientists, 150 chefs, 140 fishermen and 85 surfers and surf businesses have sent letters to Congress urging the passage of a national shark fin ban. In 2021, Congress reintroduced the bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 2811/S. 1106), which would ban the trade of shark fins in the United States. This legislation has over 240 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate. This bill is needed now more than ever as new research confirms oceanic shark and ray populations have plummeted due to overfishing. Oceana now urges the 117th Congress to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act to protect the ocean ecosystems and tourism jobs and businesses that depend on healthy shark populations. This bill has such widespread support because one of the greatest threats to sharks is the demand for their fins. In fact, fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year. This demand leads to the act of shark finning –cutting the fins off a shark and discarding its body at sea, where it drowns, bleeds to death, or is eaten alive by other fish. The demand for shark fins is primarily driven by the market for shark fin soup, a luxury item popular in some Asian cuisines. Although shark finning is illegal in our waters, fins can still be bought and sold in the United States, and we are importing from countries where there are inadequate protections in place for sharks. A national prohibition would improve enforcement of the current finning ban, reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation, and bring the world closer to ending the devastating trade in shark fins.