01/04/2011 - Putting teeth into a law to save sharks may sound like a bad pun, but it's a good idea. Approximately 73 million sharks a year are killed just for their fins, to make shark fin soup. With a big push from Ellen Pikitch, a shark expert now based at Stony Brook University, a 2000 law tried to curb this practice, which is denuding the ocean of a predator vital to the balance of ocean life. But the industry found loopholes in it. Now, Congress has wisely voted to close them.
The law targets a practice called shark finning. Those who harvest the sharks cut off the fins and toss the shark back in, to spiral helplessly toward the ocean floor, with no means of locomotion or defense.
One reason to oppose this is humanitarian. It's a nasty way to treat an amazing creature. Notwithstanding the "Jaws" music in our heads, the number of shark attacks on humans is tiny. Our impact on them is not.
Read the full editorial Congress Right to Save Sharks on the Newsday Web site.