The U.S. stands out and stands up for our fishy friends becoming the global leader in shark conservation.
Just today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Shark Conservation Act, which passed the U.S. Senate yesterday and now awaits the president’s approval. The legislation will ensure that the U.S. has a comprehensive fins-attached policy making shark finning illegal in all U.S. waters.
The Shark Conservation Act will give sharks a safer place to swim, sounds a little scary to human swimmers! But it comes at a critical time for Sharks, who are in serious trouble today with 30% of the worlds shark species threatened with endangerment and extinction.The east coast especially suffers, losing nearly 80% of its shark populations since the 70’s.
The growing shark problem is due in part to the shark fin trade, a widespread practice of removing and retaining shark fins for popular Chinese shark fin soup and other practices. Shark finning has received harsh criticism in recent years due to the cruel measures that are involved in the practice, for example, most fisherman slice off a living sharks dorsal fin and leave the defenseless shark behind to suffocate,bleed or be eaten while still breathing.
With an estimated 73 million sharks killed each year due to the shark fin trade, the world has started to fight for the right of sharks everywhere. In 2006, Chinese basketball phenomenon, Yao Ming, announced he would stop eating shark fin soup entirely. Most recently in 2009, The Republic of Palau created the first shark sanctuary, making it illegal to capture sharks in Palau’s waters of over 230,000 square miles.
Today marks the start to the protection of sharks in the United States. Matt Rand, the director of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group said in a statement released yesterday:
“The Shark Conservation Act would once and for all end the practice of shark finning in U.S. waters and give the United States the credibility to persuade other nations and international fishery managers to follow suit.”
“As our marine environment becomes more and more threatened, we need further safeguards to keep ecosystems and top predator populations healthy. Domestic protections alone will not save sharks. The U.S. should use this act to bolster its position when negotiating for increased international protections.”
Source:Pew Environment Group