Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, today issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives' vote on H.R. 5741, the Shark Conservation Act of 2008. This act, with an amendment requiring that sharks brought to shore as catch have fins naturally attached, has gained the overwhelming support of conservationists, scientists and enforcement personnel.
“The House finally passed a bill that will strengthen protections for sharks, many species of which have fallen to less than 95 percent of their historic levels. The collapse of these top predators, the lions of the sea, has enormous consequences for the health of marine systems worldwide.
“The Shark Conservation Act of 2008 closes a loophole in existing law that still allows too many sharks to be finned at sea, and dumped dead or dying back into the ocean, a cruel and wasteful practice. It also establishes a process to ban the importation of shark products and other seafood from countries without shark conservation laws.
“Representatives Bordallo (D-Guam) and Faleomavaega (D-AS) should be commended for championing this effort to not only protect these important species, but also the overall ocean environment in which they live. In addition to protecting sharks in U.S. waters, this legislation positions the U.S. firmly in an international leadership role to advocate for stronger shark conservation worldwide.”