Matt Rand, director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Shark Conservation Campaign, issued the following statement today in response to the signing of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) shark fin prohibition act by CNMI Governor Beningo R. Fitial. The bill was introduced by State Rep. Diego Benavente (R-Saipan) and State Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian).
“We commend the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands for prohibiting the possession of shark fins within its jurisdiction. With this action, following efforts by Hawaii and the Northern Pacific Island nation of Palau, the islands of the Pacific are stepping up to lead the world in shark conservation.
“Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year primarily to support the global shark fin trade. As a result, 30 percent of the world's shark species are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. For an additional 47 percent of shark species, scientists lack enough data to properly assess their population status.
“The Pacific Islands understand just how critical healthy oceans are for their people and economies. We applaud the efforts of CNMI for passing this shark conservation law and helping to alleviate the global pressure on shark populations.”