Ending the Shark Fin Trade - Oceana USA

Responsible Fishing

Ending the Shark Fin Trade

Congress Must Pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act




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 largely ban the trade of shark fins in the United States. Identical legislation passed the House in 2019 and was cosponsored by 287 representatives at the time of its passage on the House floor–the most cosponsored bipartisan ocean conservation bill in the 116th Congress. 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 H.R. 2811/S. 1106, 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 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.