Bali Animal Welfare Association

116th Congress Introduces Bill to Ban US Shark Fin Trade

WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act to ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. Shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins off a shark and discarding its body at sea, is illegal in U.S. waters. However, fins are still traded, imported and exported throughout the U.S., including from countries that do not have adequate protections in place for their shark species.

The global shark fin trade is one of the largest contributors to the decline of shark populations around the world, with the fins from as many as 73 million sharks ending up in the market every year. Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Sablan introduced similar legislation (H.R. 1456) in the 115th Congress, which gained 262 cosponsors in the House, including 11 committee chairs. Companion legislation overwhelmingly passed the Senate Commerce Committee, however, time ran out at the end of the year before Congress could pass the bill.

Oceana applauded the bill’s re-introduction and released the following statement from campaign director Whitney Webber:

“Banning the U.S. shark fin trade has overwhelming support from the conservation, business and coastal recreation industries, and is a critical step for shark conservation. This legislation would improve enforcement of state fin bans and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.

Rarely do we find an issue that can bring together the political, business and conservation communities as this bill. Eight in 10 Americans support a fin trade ban, as do many congressional leaders.

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