New York state is the largest importer of shark fins on the East Coast, but if a new bill passes, this fact could be history.
This trade is driven by a demand for shark fin soup, which can sell for hundreds of dollars. Sadly, shark numbers are dropping worldwide due to relentless fishing for fins, and in many places sharks have their fins cut off while still alive (a cruel practice called “finning”). Finning is illegal in the United States, but the demand for fins in New York and elsewhere in the US add to the pressure. Imported fins can come from countries with less regulations, and many shark populations in the US are dropping dangerously low, with some hammerhead populations falling as much as 98%.
But New York is considering a bill that would ban the trade of shark fins within the state, and we’re so excited to announce that it’s moving forward! After a huge push by Oceana and other shark supporters, which included thousands of your signatures and personal pleas from Leonardo DiCaprio and January Jones, both the Senate and Assembly committees passed the bill. Now it’s up for a vote in the Assembly and Senate. But the New York legislation session ends this week, which means they have to act soon.
We’re still gathering signatures to send to New York legislatures. Please sign today and pass the petition along to your friends. The world’s sharks need you.
I’m thrilled to report that as of this afternoon, the entire U.S. West Coast has now banned the trade of shark fins.
After months of work by Oceana and our allies, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill banning the trade of shark fins, joining the ranks of a growing number of governments rallying to protect the top predators in the oceans. Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii have all passed similar bans.
As Oceana shark spokesperson January Jones and I wrote in the Huffington Post, each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins, mostly to make shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy. Shark finning is a shocking practice in which a shark's fins are sliced off at sea and the animal is thrown back in the water to bleed to death. Shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, but that didn’t stop the shark fin trade.
According to government data, approximately 85 percent of dried shark fin imports to the United States came through California last year, making California the hub of the US shark fin market. Thanks to Governor Brown, this will no longer be the case.
Sharks have been on the planet for more than 400 million years, but populations around the world are crashing. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems, but due to their slow growth rate and low level of reproduction, sharks are especially vulnerable to fishing pressure.
We couldn’t have scored this monumental victory for sharks without you. Thanks to all of you for helping protect the oceans’ top predators.
For her second “Scared for Sharks” PSA, “Mad Men” star January Jones joined Oceana in Belize to swim with the largest fish in the ocean: the whale shark.
Last spring, I traveled with Oceana to Belize’s Gladden Spit Marine Reserve to photograph and film whale sharks for the new "Scared for Sharks" PSA. It was my second time swimming with sharks, so I wasn’t as nervous, especially since whale sharks, like most sharks, are not a threat to humans.
It’s humans, in fact, who pose the greater risk to sharks because of our insatiable desire for shark fins, shark livers, shark teeth and every other shark product you can think of. Scientists say that tens of millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins, which is directly causing some shark populations around the world to crash.
The winter issue of the Oceana magazine is now online for your reading pleasure!
* Visit lovely Punta de Choros, Chile, where we recently achieved a dramatic victory in stopping the construction of a coal-fired power plant.
* Sail into the Gulf of Mexico with the Oceana Latitude expedition.
* Explore Chile’s Sala y Gomez Island, whose waters were recently declared a no-take zone after our preliminary expedition there.
* Dive in with actress January Jones in her second trip with Oceana to swim with sharks. This time? The majestic whale shark.
Watch Oceana spokeswoman January Jones journey to Belize on a La Mer-sponsored dive.
Today is a big day -- we’re launching an exciting initiative leading up to World Oceans Day on June 8. And it’s all about everyday ocean heroes.
First, starting today you can be an ocean hero by pledging to help protect the oceans. For every pledge made, we’ll receive $1 toward our campaign work -- up to $100,000!
In case you need more encouragement, here are some of our celebrity supporters in a brand new PSA:
And secondly, today is the official start of voting for our Ocean Heroes Contest. After you pledge, you'll have the chance to vote on this year's Ocean Hero. We received more than 300 nominations, and we’ve narrowed it down to six adults and five juniors, all with incredible stories.
Thanks to everyone who shared their stories -- they were a lot of fun to read, and it was hard to choose. I'll be highlighting the finalists in the coming weeks here on the blog.
And once you have pledged and voted, you can encourage others to do the same. By placing our pledge widget on your blog or website, you can help us reach the $100,000 mark. And if there’s an ocean hero finalist you really want to win, you can help them garner more votes with our campaign badges.
So pledge, vote and start spreading the word!
The Golden Globe nominees were announced this morning, and to almost noone's surprise, AMC's "Mad Men" was nominated for Best Drama TV series, and January Jones was nominated for Best Actress in a TV Drama for the second time.
As any "Mad Men" fan can attest, this season Jones's character, Betty Draper, finally came into her own. From her escapist romp in Rome with Don to her escalating indiscretions, Betty's restless dissatisfation finally reached a boiling point. So let's hope she wins the praise she deserves for her stellar performance. Good luck, January!
And in case you haven't seen it, see why J.J. is scared for sharks in the PSA she did for us.