The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act was recently introduced in the US House of Representatives. HR 5248 is a bi-partisan bill introduced in Congress in mid-March. It establishes a certification process to ensure that foreign nations engaging in the shark trade into or through the United States conserve and manage populations of sharks in a manner that is comparable to regulatory programs in the US and effectively prohibits the practice of removing shark fins and discarding the carcass at sea.
The market for shark fins, oil and meat, and other products drives a large international trade. The demand for fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world. According to some studies, humans kill as many as 11,000 sharks per hour. 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 US waters, shark fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the US. This bill will limit the supply of these products in the US to those that are certified and meet the stringent criteria contained in the bill.
The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act, establishes criteria for determining whether a nation has, and effectively enforces, regulatory programs for the conservation and management of sharks and creates measures to prohibit shark finning that are comparable to those of the United States, including, at a minimum, a requirement that such programs be consistent with the national standards for fishery conservation and management set forth in section 301(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1851). The bill also has provisions for the protection of skates and rays.
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 Representative and Senator 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 our campaign to support HR 5248. 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.
PLEASE ACT TODAY TO SEND LAWMAKERS A MESSAGE TO PASS H. R. 5248, THE SUSTAINABLE SHARK FISHERIES AND TRADE ACT.
DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization dedicated to the sustained growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. For more information on DEMA, call 858-616-6408 or visit www.dema.org.