In March the federal “Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017” (HR 1456) was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Mr. Ed Royce of California (R-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and by Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP).
This bill makes it illegal to possess, buy, or sell shark fins or any product containing shark fins. A person may possess a shark fin that was lawfully taken consistent with a license or permit under certain circumstances. Penalties are imposed for violations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Chair Royce has stated that, “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. There are still 39 states where the purchase of shark fins is legal. The bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act is needed to eradicate shark finning for good.”
The demand for fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world. 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. While shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the U.S. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act curbs the market for shark fins by making it unlawful to possess, sell or buy fins anywhere in the US.
We strongly urge you to contact your elected representatives in Congress and share how this bill could protect the shark population as well as how your business and the recreational diving industry are made stronger by divers’ ability to see these creatures in the wild. Your message to your elected officials should be personalized and we encourage you to add details about the work of your organization and how this bill would impact your company and the citizens you serve.
DEMA is supporting this bill and asks all members of the diving industry to join us in contacting your legislators to vote for the passage of this important piece of legislation. You can easily do so by joining DEMA’s campaign to support HR 1456 by clicking here [Insert URL to CQ Roll Call Page]. When you complete the campaign form, your comments will be sent directly to your representative.
If you are able to contact your Representative or Senator, and receive any kind of feedback, please let us know right away. DEMA will continue to work toward supporting this bill and share updates on this issue as they become available. If you have questions about this issue, please email DEMA at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at 858-616-6408.