This year shark victories resounded around the world, including good news here in the USA. Last week the House approved the Shark Conservation Act as amended and passed by the Senate and championed by Senator Kerry and Representative Madeline Bordallo. This bill will close loopholes allowing landing of sharks with fins unattached, and strengthens importation and enforcement of shark fin transportation.
Thanks to the efforts of Senator Clayton Hee, Hawaii is the first state in the nation to ban the sale and possession of shark fins. This team, including WildAid has met with Sea Stewards, Iemanya and other shark conservation groups and we have serious momentum to increase protections in San Francisco and the State of California.
The Raj Ampat region of Indonesia declared a Shark Sanctuary for a vast region of the island waters, and The Maldives Islands recently declared a Shark Sanctuary, joining Palau. There have been similar anti finning law successes in W. Samoa and Senator Hee is also urging the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to ban finning and the sale of fins.
These successes are resonating with efforts in Central America and Roatan and our own efforts here in San Francisco to establish protected areas for sharks.
On the down side, shark groups in the EU are facing strong opposition to protect several threatened species of sharks and work to list species under CITES has failed. The EU has held fast to the fin ratios that allow for poor reporting and overfishing of sharks for fins. With their own finning loopholes and a heavy shark fishery, there is serious work to be done in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic.
The IUCN has reported that fully one third of the worlds shark species are threatened with extinction.
Finning is a serious threat to sharks world wide, but there is a growing effort to protect sharks in the fisheries and from shark finning. By providing Sanctuary and limiting consumption of fin products, we can make a difference for apex predators like sharks, and the health of the ocean.
Join Sea Stewards and support our shark conservation efforts here at home, and abroad.
Tax deductible donations can be made to Sea Stewards Healthy Oceans Initiative.
Thank you for your support.
David McGuire, MPH