Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stefanie Brendl Needs One Voice - Yours

Commercial shark diving operator turned full time legislative shark conservationist, Stefanie Brendl, has an urgent request for one voice today - yours:

Some of you will have already heard about the shark fin bills (based on last years Hawaii fin bill) in progress in Guam and the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

CNMI legislator Diego Benavente introduced almost the exact same bill as Hawaii last August, prohibiting possession and trade of shark fins. The measure has travelled through the House and Senate and has made it to Governor Fitial's desk, waiting to be signed into law. The opposition has mounted a last minute full blown effort to kill this bill. All hands are needed to help this bill take the last hurdle.

When Senator Hee and I were there in December, Governor Fitial stated that he would be in support, but lobbying by opposition has caused a delay of the signing and has endangered passage of this bill. Short, but powerful statements from all Shark and Ocean conservation organizations will help push this over the finish line.

We didn't need it until now.

But its time to bring everything we have to the table! Passage of this bill is key to setting the pace in the region. With Guam and other Islands considering shark fin legislation it is imperative that this bill will pass into law!

So please take a few minutes to urge Governor Fitial to sign bill HB 17-94

Deadline: Now

Send email or call
(670) 664-2282

(CNMI time zone is GMT +10)

Vice Speaker BJ Cruz and Senator Rory Respicio of the Guam legislature introduced a similar measure last week.

Strong opposition is already mounting in Guam, mostly from the fishing community and some members of WESPAC (Western Pacific Fisheries Council, the regional Fisheries Management Organization). Some of this opposition is based on the misunderstanding that this bill will affect local fishermen, but as they do not fin sharks, (which is now illegal due to the Federal Shark Conservation Act), this bill will not hinder their fishing activities. It will disrupt the commercial take of sharks and fins, which is beneficial to all fishing communities.

Explaining your view on why sharks are important to the ocean eco system and why such legislation is necessary in the form of testimony will be most valuable.

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