May 7, 2013
New York, NY – The World Society for the Protection of Animals offers a sincere congratulations and thank you to the New York House and Senate, who have passed law A.1769b/S.1711b to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. Personal recognition is deserved for Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Alan Maisel, both of whom sponsored the bill in their respective chambers. More than 70 additional Senators and Assemblymen co-sponsored the bipartisan bill, which now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signature. WSPA looks forward to the governor's enactment of the law, and congratulates the entirety of New York on a strong step to prevent the dire collapse of shark populations worldwide.
Shark finning is a brutal practice in which sharks are hauled onboard a fishing vessel, have their fins removed, and then are thrown back in the water still alive, where they sink to the bottom and slowly die, as they cannot swim without fins. Nearly 100 million sharks are killed for shark fin soup every year, leading to the recent decline in many species of shark. By enacting the bill to end the trade, Governor Cuomo will close the door to the largest point of entry and distribution for shark fins on the East Coast, and will become the seventh state to enact such a ban.
"We are proud of New York today and congratulate all elected officials in being a leader in the U.S. for protecting sharks," says Elizabeth Hogan, Manager of Oceans & Wildlife for the World Society for the Protection of Animals. "We're pleased to know shark fin soup will soon be off the menus, and look forward to helping more states follow New York's lead."
Across New York, 14 animal protection groups joined forces to support the passing of 1769b/S.1711b. Once passed, the law will further support national shark finning bans by shutting down the primary market for the trade. WSPA hopes this will lead to the collapse of the global shark trade and discussion of best ways to protect marine animals and habitats.
Supporters are encouraged to thank their elected officials on Twitter, via:
• The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
• Conservation, fisheries enforcement and a shark finning ban in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve sharks. A ban on shark fin products is the most effective way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.
• In March 2013, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species listed certain shark species on Appendix II – the first time shark species with high commercial value have been granted such protections in the 40-year history of the convention.
• Shark fin soup is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested outside of the U.S. and the precarious status of many shark populations.
• In 2011, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.
For more information, contact:
Deborah Burzynski, Regional Communications & Marketing Director, North America
World Society for the Protection of Animals