WASHINGTON – Today, more than 150 chefs and restaurant owners from over 30 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, sent a letter urging Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which would ban the trade of shark fins nationwide. Signed by renowned chefs such as José Andrés, Eric Ripert, Bun Lai, Daniel Barber, Rick Moonen and Jacques Pepin, the letter states that a national ban reinforces the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation, setting an example for the rest of the world.
The bipartisan Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act (S.793/H.R.1456) was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Reps. Ed Royce (R-C.A.) and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-M.P.). While shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, shark fins – including imports from countries that allow finning - continue to be bought and sold throughout the U.S. The demand for shark fins is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world.
Excerpt from the letter:
“As chefs and restaurant owners, we are committed to ensuring the food we serve is good for the planet and for our customers. This includes supporting practices that do not contribute to the demand for unsustainable food products or harvesting practices.
One practice stands above others in terms of is wastefulness and cruelty—shark finning. This process involves cutting the fins off a shark and discarding its body at sea, where it dies a slow death from drowning, bleeding to death, or even being eaten alive by other fish.
The demand for shark fins is primarily driven by the market for shark fin soup, which is considered a luxury item in some Asian cuisines. In fact, it is estimated that fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year.
While shark finning is banned in U.S. waters, it is still legal to buy, sell and trade shark fins throughout parts the country. By allowing the trade of shark fins within our borders, the U.S. continues to contribute to this global problem.
Simply put, there is no reason to serve shark fins in restaurants in our country.”
Oceana campaign director Whitney Webber released the following statement in response to the letter:
“Oceana applauds these chefs who are standing up as leaders of their industry and saying shark fins have no place in their restaurants.
Support for a ban on shark fins is not limited to just one industry or region. These chefs join 12 states, 40 airlines, 20 shipping companies, 85 surfers and surf businesses, 150 scientists and over 500 U.S. organizations and businesses that all oppose the U.S. shark fin trade. In fact, according to national polling, eight in 10 Americans support a national ban on the trade of shark fins.
To protect sharks, we need to end the demand for shark fins, starting here at home. It is time for Congress to demonstrate the leadership of the United States and pass this important legislation.”
To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to end the shark fin trade in the United States, please visit oceana.org/FinBanNow.
If you are a chef or restaurant owner that would like to add your name to the petition, you can sign up here: https://bit.ly/2ISkw1a