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Protect sharks from slow and painful deaths at sea

Mar 15, 2012

The demand for shark fin soup is causing immense suffering for sharks around the world – help end the brutal practice of shark finning. 

Sharks are intelligent, graceful and curious creatures that hold a vital position at the top of the marine food chain – a role they’ve held for 200 million years! But, in the last several decades, these amazing animals have become targets for hunters and fisheries, threatening a third of all shark species with extinction and jeopardizing the delicate balance of our oceans.

Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year, most to meet the increasing demand for an Asian delicacy known as shark fin soup. Shark finning is extremely brutal. Because the fins are considerably more valuable than the meat, hunters catch the sharks, slice off their fins while they are still alive and then, oftentimes, dump the helpless animals back into the ocean – where they are left to die by drowning, starvation or being eaten by other organisms. 

Current U.S. Legislation

In late 2010, thanks in part to the more than 30,000 WSPA supporters who signed our petition, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, protecting millions of sharks from finning by all foreign and domestic vessels in U.S. waters.

Despite this new legislation, shark fishing is still permissible as long as the whole carcass is brought to shore. Most shark fins acquired in U.S. waters are exported to Asia; however a percentage is also used to meet domestic need for shark fin soup, which is served in hundreds of U.S. restaurants. The possession and trade of shark fins is currently legal in many U.S. states and undoubtedly contributes to the demand for shark fins and the decline of shark populations around the globe.

How you can help

Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have banned all the sale, trade and possession of shark fins. Now, New York and Maryland are currently considering similar legislation.

If you live in one of these states, please contact your state legislators and tell them to adopt high standards of shark protection. By doing so, you can help end the cruelty of shark finning and protect endangered shark populations from further abuse. 



Image © Marc Tarlock_www.mtarlock.com_Flickr 3.0

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