The Beacon

Blog Tags: Shark Finning

"Snuffy the Seal": Offensive or Effective?

Whether this was your first or fiftieth time watching the Discovery Channel’s viral Shark Week ad, “Snuffy the Seal,” the video is sure to have caught your attention. The ad has been called “polarizing,” “controversial,” and even “horrifying.” Loved or hated, there’s no doubt that the video is effective – mere minutes after the promo aired, “Snuffy the Seal,” was a trending topic on Twitter, and dozens of news articles have been written in the days since its release on the ad’s effectiveness and shock value.


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Brunei Becomes First Asian Country to Ban Shark Finning!

Brunei's strong ban on shark finning sets an admirable step for the rest of Asia to follow! Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We have some big news for  you –Brunei has become the first Asian country to adopt a nationwide shark fin ban! With his June 7 announcement, Sultan Hossanal Bolkiah’s decree officially banned the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters of Brunei Darussalam, as well as shark fin sales in the domestic market, and the importation and trade of shark products.


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VICTORY! EU Shark Fin Ban Loopholes to Be Closed

The European Union closed a final loophole in their shark fin bans, effectively making shark finning forbidden by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels around the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We’ve got some great news to share with you – The European Union (EU) agreed on Thursday to tighten their existing ban on shark finning, and to effectively close a final loophole in the ban on finning. With the change, shark finning will be forbidden by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels around the world. “Shark finning is one of the main threats to the shark population,” Sandrine Polti, policy adviser to the Shark Alliance, explained to the Huffington Post. “We’re now in a much better position to push for a global shark-finning ban.”


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Victory! Delaware Becomes Seventh State in U.S. to Ban Shark Fin Trade!

Shark fins, like these drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong, can no longer be sold, traded, possessed, or distributed in the state of Delaware! Source: Nicholas Wang

Yesterday, Delaware became the seventh state to prohibit the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins within state borders. By signing House Bill 41, Gov. Jack Markell not only made Delaware the second East Coast state to ban the shark fin trade, but he sent the message that sharks are worth more in the oceans than in a bowl of shark fin soup.


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Victory! Maryland Becomes First East Coast State to Ban Shark Fin Trade!

Governor Martin O'Malley signs bill into law banning possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins in Maryland

Maryland made history today by becoming the first East Coast state to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. They join the entire West Coast, as well as Illinois and Hawaii, in banning the fin trade, which drives the cruel and unnecessary act of shark finning and is contributing to the near-extinction of many shark species.


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Delaware Sends Shark Fin Ban to Governor

Less than one week after passing the state Assembly, the Delaware state Senate has signed on to a bill banning the trade of shark fins within the state’s borders. 

The states spanning the entire West Coast, plus Hawaii and Illinois, already have shark fin bans in place.  In Maryland, a similar bill was just signed into law today by Governor Martin O'Malley, and the New York Legislature is considering a ban as well.

The gruesome practice of shark finning—slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body overboard, often while still alive—is illegal in the United States.  But shark fin soup remains a pricey Asian delicacy, often selling for up to $100 a bowl, and fins can be imported from other countries where the practice is legal.


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Delaware House Takes Action for Sharks

Delaware, Let's keep shark fins where they belong -- On sharks, not in soups. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the Delaware House of Representatives took a huge step forward for shark conservation efforts worldwide when they passed a bill that would prohibit the trade of shark fins within their state borders. House Bill 41 bans the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins, which are commonly used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup.  Demand for these products drives the harmful and wasteful practice of shark finning, which is responsible for the deaths of millions of sharks every year and the depletion of populations worldwide.


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CEO Note: Maryland Takes the Lead

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless

If you’re a Marylander like me, this is a time to be proud. The Old Line State has stepped forward, making ocean conservation a priority and providing an example that other states would be wise to follow.

First, Maryland became a leader in developing offshore wind energy by passing The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley this week. The measure will help spur the development of at least 200 megawatts of renewable energy off Maryland’s coast – enough to power about 200,000 homes.

While wind turbines already dot Europe’s coast, the United States has yet to construct a single offshore wind farm. Maryland’s legislation marks an important milestone on this country’s path to a clean ocean energy future.

This victory was made possible by the tireless advocacy of Oceana and a diverse coalition of environmental, faith, business and community groups, all of which recognized the need to transition to this clean and abundant form of energy, and away from fossil fuels. Special thanks to Chesapeake Climate Action Network, National Wildlife Federation, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Maryland Sierra Club and Environment Maryland for helping to pressure lawmakers to take this first step towards a greener energy portfolio for the state.

Second, both the Maryland House and Senate passed a bill to prohibit the sale and trade of shark fins. Pending the signature of the Governor, Maryland will become the first state on the East Coast to adopt such a ban. Approximately 100 million sharks are killed each year, primarily to support the demand for shark fin soup. While shark finning is banned in the U.S, this brutal practice—which involves slicing the fins off a live shark and then dumping it back in the water where it is left to die—is still occurring around the world.  By stopping the shark fin trade in state, Maryland can help protect sharks worldwide.

So congratulations Maryland, but remember, there’s a lot of work still left to do to protect our oceans. As for the rest of the states, what are you waiting for?


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Infographic: Shark Attacks

A new study published earlier this year in Marine Policy put the number of sharks slaughtered each year at 100 million, or roughly three sharks caught per second. Outraged by these shocking numbers, Joe Chernov and Robin Richards created an infographic to put the figures in perspective. While shark attacks on humans do happen (there were 12 fatal ones last year) the existential threat humans pose to the future of sharks is far graver. While there's a lot to be said about the horrors of shark finning, we'll let this graphic do the talking.


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New Report: 100 Million Sharks Are Killed Each Year

Shark fins at a Hong Kong market. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There’s a new estimate for how many sharks are killed each year by fishermen worldwide and the news is grim. Despite growing awareness of the threat sharks face and legislative efforts around the globe to stem the unsustainable harvest of sharks, a new study published this week in Marine Policy puts the number slaughtered each year at 100 million sharks, or three sharks caught per second.

Due to the incomplete nature of the data for shark catches, that number could be as low as 63 million or as high as 273 million, but both the high and low end estimates are outside of safe biological limits. According to the study’s authors, this number represents approximately 7% of all sharks in the ocean. On average, shark populations can grow at a maximum rate of 5% per year.  As can be seen, shark populations cannot grow fast enough to sustain this enormous removal each year, which is why sharks numbers have declined so dramatically in recent years.

The primary culprit for this staggering level of exploitation remains the same: overfishing and bycatch, driven by the unabated demand for shark fin soup, the consumption of which is seen as a status symbol in China. The fin itself is a largely flavorless component of the soup and provides no additional nutritional value.

Sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing due to their slow growth, late maturation and small litters, with biological life histories that more closely resemble large mammals than other fish. Some sharks, like the Atlantic Ocean's dusky shark, do not mature until as late as 21 years of age and give birth to as few as three pups every three years.

Oceana is fighting to protect sharks around the world. Learn more about what we do.


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