Thursday, November 19, 2009

Senate Committee Passes Bill to End Shark Finning in the US

The US takes a step in the right direction. Let's hope other countries follow suit.

The Shark Conservation Act of 2009, which aims to close loopholes in current shark finning legislation, was passed by the House of Representatives in March:


  1. I saw this link on Patrick's shark divers blog. Is this something worth talking about, or is Patrick going out on a limb?

  2. Thanks for this comment. I think this is an important issue and agree with Patrick that we should be as accurate as possible to avoid losing credibility. The numbers are extremely confusing, though, so I don't like to be too judgmental when people make mistakes.

    Really no one knows for sure how many sharks are killed each year or by what percentage shark populations have declined. There are studies that show that "many shark populations have declined by as much as 90%". This figure refers to some shark species in a geographic area, though, not all sharks everywhere.

    And the 100 million per year -- or whatever it is -- gets even more confusing. A 2006 study estimated that "fins from between 26 and 73 million sharks are traded globally each year". In this study by Dr Shelley Clarke and others, the "annual median for the period was 38 million sharks". But Dr. Clarke also notes that they may have underestimated total global shark catches, since it does not take into account domestic production and consumption of shark fins in major shark fishing nations like Taiwan and Japan, and also does not take into account sharks that were discarded whole without removing the fins.

    So it's not easy to sort through all this information. We need to get people's attention and we need to have powerful messages, but also we need to do it without being sensational and inaccurate. This is a challenge. I definitely think we should support everyone who is working protect sharks -- whether or not we're in agreement on every single issue. And we all need to strive to be as accurate and credible as possible at all times. Hopefully through communication and sharing of information, we can help each other out in this regard.

    Hope this is helpful. Thanks again for your comment!

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