Legislation to Ban Shark Finning in Congress

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Status: Current
Originally Posted: 17 February 2009

Legislation to Ban Shark Finning in Congress

From Animal Welfare Institute Legislative Action Center

The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 81) strengthens the original ban by requiring that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached to their bodies. Enforcement officials have stated that this requirement is the only way to enforce a shark finning ban.

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Sharks are caught in nets. Once onboard, their fins are cut off and the sharks are thrown back into the water to bleed to death in excruciating pain.

Removing these top predators drastically changes the food web structure, marine diversity, and ecosystem health. Addressing the practice of shark finning is an imperative step toward the conservation of sharks and marine ecosystems.

Sharks are extremely slow to recover because they mature late in life, grow slowly and have very small populations. Unlike other fish, sharks produce a handful of pups instead of a large number of eggs. Despite their biology and the increasing warnings from experts that sharks are disappearing, millions of sharks are targeted for their fins and millions more die annually as bycatch. The rising demand for shark fin soup has been cited as a leading cause of their demise.

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