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Stop the Cruel Sale and Trade of Shark Fins

Stop the Cruel Sale and Trade of Shark Fins

Name: Stop the Sale of Shark Fins in Your State

The greatest threat to sharks is the global trade in shark fins. Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice in which a fin is sliced off a shark while the shark is alive and conscious. The shark is then tossed back into the ocean where it suffers a slow and painful death over the course of several days. Several states have already passed their own laws prohibiting the possession, transportation, sale or purchase of shark fins or products containing shark fins—and your state could be next.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your state Senator and Representative and ask them to sponsor legislation to prohibit the sale of shark fins in your state.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

 

Recipients

  • Your State Senator or Senators
  • Your State Representative or Representatives

Contact

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Message

Please Put an End to the Cruel Practice of Shark Finning

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to introduce legislation to ban the possession, transportation, sale or purchase of shark fins or products containing shark fins. Shark finning is the cruel practice in which sharks are captured at sea and have their fins are cut off while the animal is alive and conscious. The shark is then thrown back into the water to drown, starve, be attacked by other predators or die a slow death.

Although federal law prohibits shark finning in U.S. waters, it does not address the sale of fins. The following states have already passed a ban on the sale and possession of shark fins: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

Please give consideration to sponsoring a bill in the next legislative session to ban the sale of shark fins in our state. For your convenience, I have included a model law, below.


Model Law for Banning the Sale of Shark Fins

Sec. 1 Rationale

The greatest threat to sharks is the global trade in shark fins. It is estimated that fins from as many as 73,000,000 sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year. The practice of shark finning, where a shark is caught, its fins are sliced off while it is still alive, and the animal returned to the sea to suffer a slow and painful death, constitutes a serious threat to coastal ecosystems and biodiversity. Although the United States has banned the practice of shark finning aboard vessels in waters controlled by the U.S., there is no federal ban on the removal and sale of shark fins once the fin is brought ashore. Once a shark fin is detached from the body, it becomes impossible to determine whether the shark was legally caught or the fins were unlawfully removed. Therefore only an outright ban on the trade of shark fins will protect shark species and help eliminate the cruel act of shark finning.

Sec. 2. Definitions

For the purpose of this section:

"Shark" means any species of the subclass Elasmobranchii, but does not include smooth dogfish (smooth hounds), spiny dogfish or species in the suborder Batoidea.

"Shark Fin" means the raw, dried, or otherwise processed detached fin, or the raw, dried or otherwise processed detached tail, of an elasmobranch.

Sec. 3. Prohibitions

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, purchase, deliver for a commercial purpose, or possess on a commercial or recreational fishing vessel a shark fin or tail or part of a shark fin or tail that has been removed from the carcass.

(b) It shall be unlawful to cause or permit deterioration or waste of a fish taken in the waters of this state or brought into this state, or to take, receive, or agree to receive more fish than can be used without deterioration, waste, or spoilage.

(c) Any shark fin seized through the enforcement of this section shall be destroyed.

Sec. 4. Exceptions

A person may possess a shark fin that was taken lawfully under a State, territorial, or Federal license or permit to take or land sharks, if the shark fin is separated from the shark in a manner consistent with the license or permit and is

1. destroyed or discarded upon separation;

2. used for noncommercial subsistence purposes in accordance with State or territorial law or

3. used solely for display or research purposes by a museum, college, or university, or other person under a State or Federal permit to conduct noncommercial scientific research.

Sec. 5. Penalties, Degree of Crime

(a) A person violating any provision of section 3 of this act shall be guilty of:

1. for a first offense, a person convicted under section 3 shall be fined not less than $500 and not more than $1,500;

2. for a second offense, a person shall be fined less than $1,500 and not more than $3,500 or by imprisonment for not more than ninety (90) days;

3. for a third or subsequent offense, a person shall be fined not less than $3,500 and not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one-hundred and eighty (180) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) Upon a conviction for violating the provisions of section 3 of this act, the
court shall order the seizure and forfeiture of shark fins, commercial or recreational marine licenses, vessels, fishing equipment, or other property involved in violation of section 3. A shark fin seized through the enforcement of this section shall be destroyed.

(c) A violation of section 3 by a person holding a commercial or recreational fishing license or
permit may result in the suspension or revocation of such license or permit.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]