AWI eAlert: NC Senators Need to Hear Your Support for the Shark Conservation Act!

April 21, 2010

Dear Humanitarian in North Carolina:

You may recall our previous alerts regarding the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (S. 850), introduced by Senator John Kerry last April. If passed, the bill would close loopholes in the U.S. ban on shark finning (the act of cutting off the fins of a shark, sometimes while still alive, and discarding the shark at sea), aid in species identification and enforcement, and encourage other nations to take similar actions.

The bill has yet to be put to a vote due to concerns that Senators in North Carolina might oppose the bill, fearing its impact on the smooth dogfish fishery in the State. There is, however, no evidence that the bill would economically impact the small fishery. It is very important that Senators in North Carolina hear from their constituents who support the bill.

S. 850 would strengthen the ban on shark finning by requiring that fishermen land sharks with their fins naturally attached. Fishermen would still be permitted to catch smooth dogfish and to bleed and gut the fish before putting them on ice to prevent spoilage, but they would just be required to land them with their fins naturally attached. Smooth dogfish spoil quicker than other sharks necessitating the rapid gutting and icing, but there is no evidence that the meat will spoil if the fins remain attached.
Up to 73 million sharks are killed worldwide every year for the shark fin industry. The demand for their fins for the “delicacy” shark fin soup is largely to blame and as a result, many species are now facing extinction. A ban on shark finning is imperative to the survival of declining shark populations.


Please contact your U.S. Senators today to express your support for S. 850, the Shark Conservation Act of 2009, and to request that they not oppose the bill when it is put to a vote. For information about the bill, to find your legislators or to send an email, please visit AWI’s Compassion Index at

Please share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers. As always, we are grateful for your help.

Cathy Liss

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