NOAA proposal weakens state shark finning statutes

Shark fins on Wetpixel

A proposal by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the implementation of the 2010 Shark Conservation Act has the potential to weaken existing state laws on finning. The wording of the proposal concerns the implementation of the Act and seeks to ban “the removal of shark fins at sea; the possession, transfer, and landing of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass; and the landing of shark carcasses without the corresponding fins naturally attached.

Existing state shark finning bans are in place in Hawaii, California, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. These have been formulated to reflect local issues and needs and typically have grown from a public demand in these territories for a ban. The majority of the state legislation is more restrictive than the Act’s and also focus on trade in shark fin, rather than fishing and it seems that NOAA’s proposed implementation will weaken the existing state bans. In addition, some feel that the new law will weaken the U.S.A.’s leadership in shark conservation.

Pew have launched a petition to ask that: “The U.S. government should implement the Shark Conservation Act as intended, without undermining state conservation measures.

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