Greetings and welcome or welcome back! Today's blog is some good news out of New Jersey. Yesterday, representatives from the Shark Research Institute, Humane Society, American Littoral Society, and Jenkinson's Aquarium testified in favor of a bill that would ban the possession, trade, and sale of certain shark fins in New Jersey. I am proud to say that I was one of those testifying in favor! The bill has already passed the state senate and as of yesterday has now passed the assembly appropriations committee by a vote of 8-1.
From here the bill will travel to the state assembly for a vote and if it passes there, it will head to the Governor's desk. I will be sure to post update blogs as things progress with this bill for better or for worse. So what is this bill? The bill is pretty self explanatory. The bill, if signed into a law would bad the sale, possession, and trade of shark fins in New Jersey. While it may sound self explanatory there is some things within the bill that ease some of the opposition's feelings.
First, this bill does not ban the sale of shark fin soup in the state of New Jersey. What it does ban is restaurants illegally obtaining shark fins from other countries, states, etc.. If a restaurant is obtaining fins in a legal manner, then there will be no issue. Keep in mind though the massive problems that shark fin soup is linked to for both humans and sharks alike.
This bill does not hurt recreational fisherman who are good honest fishermen. It will hurt those that catch a shark for the fins and just dispose of the shark's body though. If a fisherman wants to sell the shark's fins, they can. However the whole body of the shark must go with the fins attached. I guess another inconvenience would be that charter boats will no longer be able to nail shark fins to the dock as trophies.... Apparently that's a big deal somehow... Not going to try to explain why that is significant in the long run. In addition, the bill does allow for shark fins to be possessed consistent with licensing for fishing.
Finally, believe it or not, shark fishing is a very tiny market in New Jersey. In fact, 2016 shark fisheries accounted for a whopping 0.51% of all the species landed in the state. Yes, not even 1%. The impact overall of this bill will be minimal and will help to close the loophole in the national shark finning laws. So far 13 other states have passed similar legislation with the most recent being Texas. Even states that are completely landlocked (Nevada) have gotten in on the bans. More locally Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York all already have similar legislation in place.
Fingers are crossed and all eyes on the next state assembly meeting where this bill will go up for a vote. If you are a resident of New Jersey, I, along with over 25 organizations whom have signed on in support of this bill ask you to call your legislators and tell them that you support bill A4845! As always thank you for reading and stay tuned as more news about this comes out!