Friday, January 9, 2009

Humane Society International-Loophole closure

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society
International issued a statement today applauding Guam Delegate
Madeleine Bordallo for introducing legislation that would close a
loophole on shark finning.

Bordallo introduced the Shark Conservation Act, H.R. 81, which
provides increased protection for vulnerable shark species from the
disgusting practices of “finning” and overfishing.
“Each year, tens of millions of sharks worldwide have their fins
cruelly cut off at sea and are then thrown back overboard to die a
lingering, painful death,” said Patricia Forkan, president of Humane
Society International. “Shark finning threatens the survival of
essential marine species, and we commend Congresswoman Bordallo for
addressing this cruel and wasteful practice.”

Although shark finning was banned in the U.S. by the Shark Finning
Prohibition Act of 2000, enforcement is complex and a major loophole
allows circumvention of the law. Last summer, the U.S. Department of
Commerce implemented regulations in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf
of Mexico requiring that sharks be landed with fins attached to their
bodies, to prevent shark finning. However, the Pacific Ocean has no
comparable regulation, leaving these expansive waters wide open to

Last year, the previous version of the Shark Conservation Act (H.R.
5741) passed the House in the 110th Congress, but did not advance in
the Senate before the session was adjourned. The new legislation
contains the same language closing a loophole that currently permits a
vessel to transport fins that were obtained illegally as long as the
sharks were not finned aboard that vessel. The act also requires that
all sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached to their
bodies, creating a clear enforcement mandate applicable in both

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