Two United States Congressional representatives introduced a bill late last week that would ban the sales and purchase of shark fins across the U.S.
U.S. Representatives Ed Royce (R-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-North Marianas Islands) said the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 1456) is needed across the country. Eleven states have passed bans on shark fins.
“The United States can set an example for the rest of the world by shutting down its market for shark fins, which are often harvested by leaving these animals to die a slow and painful death at the bottom of the ocean,” Royce said. “While California led the way with a state-wide ban, there are still almost 40 states where the purchase of shark fins is legal.”
More than 92 percent of the shark fins coming into the United States enter through the port of Los Angeles, said Lora Snyder, campaign director at Oceana, in a Los Angeles Times article.
“Americans don’t want shark fins in the U.S.,” Snyder said in a statement from Royce’s office. “Healthy shark populations support healthy ocean ecosystems, which, in turn, contribute millions of dollars to economies around the world.
The demand for fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations globally, according to a Royce’s statement. “Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year, and more than 70 percent of the most common shark species involved with the fin trade are considered at high or very high risk of extinction.”
Actor and activist Morgan Freeman previously joined Royce at an event on Capitol Hill to support banning shark fins.