Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NOAA Poised to Undermine State Shark Fin Bans

Hello again everyone. During my last blog operation, Operation Forgotten, there was a blog about the possibility of NOAA attempting to undermine state shark fin laws. Many of the laws including the ones passed in New York ban the sale and possession of shark fins, which also means that shark fin soup would be banned. Now though the federal government is challenging those bills and could potentially overturn the individual state bans. This challenge is now a growing concern for many a shark conservationist and frankly anyone who says they care about the future of our oceans.

The practice of shark finning was banned a few years ago in the United States, but it wasn't until recently that individual states actually began to outright ban the sale or possession of fins. Currently, 8 states have passed bills to ban the sale and possession of shark fins. Formerly, these 8 states comprised a staggering 68% of the fins being traded in the United States. So what is the justification for the federal government and NOAA getting involved in these laws? Well according to NOAA it is because the laws could restrict a U.S. fisherman's ability to sell shark fins. Let me rephrase that. NOAA may undermine these laws because it can prevent a fisherman from catching a shark and selling it's fins in the U.S.. One more time a little differently. Shark conservation laws could be reversed because people won't be able to sell shark fins (with no bodies attached) in a country where shark finning itself is illegal.

Simply put all NOAA is doing here is protecting, not your average every day fisherman, but shark finners. I know quite a few shark fisherman and not a single one of them would dream of selling the shark's fins as individual items without the rest of the shark. They catch a shark because the want to eat it (which I proceed to tell them why they shouldn't, but that's a different story). They don't catch them because they want to make a killing money wise. Should NOAA move on this and actually undermine the laws they will effectively set shark conservation in the United States back a great deal. I'm sure more will be coming out about this situation, but as of now it does not look like a very good scenario that could happen in the United States. The shark fin laws were all voted on and in a rare occasion, were passed with bipartisan support! Yes both political parties worked together in these 8 states to get the job done, but now the feds could make all that work go to waste. Please write to NOAA and tell them not to undermine these shark conservation laws!

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