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Shark Info   (12-15-2000)



Diving with large sharks - a foolish pastime or scientific necessity?

Shark Info

  Main article:

Diving with large sharks - a foolish pastime or scientific necessity?

Dr. E. K. Ritter

  Article 1:

Of what real advantage is the list of endangered shark species?

Shark Info

  Article 2:

Initiative to prohibit shark feedings off the coast of Florida rejected

Richard Finkus

  Article 3:

American Senate passes law banning finning in U.S. waters

Shark Info

  Fact Sheet:

Basking Sharks

Dr. E. K. Ritter

American Senate passes law banning finning in U.S. waters

By Shark Info

December 7, 2000, marks a milestone for shark protection: The finning of sharks is now legally banned in all U.S. waters, especially in the Pacific regions and Hawaii.

Finning is a cruel and wasteful practice in which the sharks' fins are cut off, often while the animals are still alive, and their unused torsos are simply tossed back into the ocean. Since the fins are equivalent to only a minimum of the shark's body weight, this means that 93 to 96% of the shark meat is thrown away and wasted. The main market for shark fins is Asia where a bowl of shark fin soup can cost up to one hundred dollars! Finning has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of sharks worldwide, ten thousand alone in U.S. Pacific coastal waters.

Since sharks reproduce very slowly, such extreme fishing methods drastically affect their populations. For this reason in 1993 the U.S. Department of Commerce already put a stop to this practice in U.S. territorial waters in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico. Up until now only the Pacific regions have been excluded from this ban where 10 years ago this practice was only of marginal importance. However, over the past years finning increased tremendously in the Pacific and especially in Hawaiian waters so that the amount of sharks killed in the Pacific rose by 2500% from 1991 to 1998! In 1998 it is estimated that approximately 60,000 blue sharks (Prionace glauca), a preferred species of the high seas, were finned.

In our Brief International News we have already reported many times on this fight against finning in U.S. waters. The bill (Shark Finning Prohibition Act, H.R. 5461) calls for a ban on finning in all U.S. waters (200-mile zone) while also promoting international cooperation in the fight against this practice. The bill prohibits both finning as well as the general landing of ships with fins in ports unless the shark torsos are also on board. This should prevent smaller fishing boats from continuing their finning practices, since compared to fins, shark torsos have only a small market value besides being heavy and taking up too much room on these small boats.

After the bill had been passed by the House of Representatives in November 2000, Senators Kerry, Snowe and Hollings submitted the bill to the Senate who then passed the legislation on December 7, 2000. It remains to be signed by the President before going into effect.

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last change: 06-04-2016 11:48