Washington – Oceana announced today the launch of a new North America shark campaign that calls on Congress and the U.S. Government to change finning laws and shark management polices in order to close the loopholes and address the issues that exist in the U.S. Shark Finning Prohibition Act.
Under the Act, it is only required that fins and carcasses be landed in a specific ratio, which does not actually prevent shark finning at sea. The absence of fins on the shark complicates the identification of the species when it is landed. Enforcement also is problematic due to the lack of ability to determine if some carcasses have been disposed of at sea or if the fins have been taken from protected species. In addition, a loophole exists in the law that allows fins from countries without finning bans to be imported into the United States.
Although the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed new regulations for shark fisheries in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico that would require fisherman to land sharks with their fins attached, Congress and the U.S. Government need to address this problem now, expanding their focus to all U.S. waters.
“Globally humans kill over 100 million sharks each year,” said Elizabeth Griffin, marine wildlife scientist at Oceana. “Current management methods put many shark populations at risk. The United States must be a global leader and take a stand to protect sharks now, before it’s too late.”