Ask Congress to Support the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act

Photo by Fiona Ayerst

Dear Humanitarian,

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017 (HR 1456) and its companion bill in the Senate (S 793), have been introduced to end the sale of shark fins in the United States. HR 1456 was introduced in the House by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP). S 793 was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). These bipartisan bills have the support of over 50 and 30 percent of their chambers, respectively.

Shark finning is the extremely brutal practice of cutting off a shark's fins, often while the shark is still alive, and discarding the body into the ocean to die of suffocation or be attacked by predators since the animal is unable to swim. The commercial value of shark fins—used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in some Asian communities—is high compared to the meat. Moreover, by keeping only the fins, fishing vessels can take more sharks on a single voyage, making the hunting ruthlessly efficient.

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in marine ecosystems around the world. But shark populations are being decimated at an alarming rate, and it is estimated that more than 70 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. Unfortunately, the United States plays a major role in the shark fin trade, both importing and exporting shark fins. It is also a transit country, via air and water, for shipments of shark fins, including fins from endangered species such as the hammerhead.

Twelve states and three US territories have already prohibited the sale of shark fins within their respective borders. At the federal level, the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 was passed to combat finning by requiring that sharks in US waters be landed with their fins naturally attached. A comprehensive nationwide ban is needed, however, to ensure that the United States does not continue to fuel demand for fins or serve as a driving force behind the slaughter of sharks around the world.

What You Can Do

Email, call, or write your US representative and senators today and urge them to cosponsor the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017 (HR 1456) and its companion bill in the Senate (S 793). You can send an email to your legislators through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here.

Be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their representative, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!


Cathy Liss

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Photo by Fiona Ayerst