Protect Marine Wildlife
As of 6 July, 2013, all sharks caught in European waters or by European vessels will have to be landed with their fins still naturally attached. Celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited, strict EU ban on shark finning, Oceana welcomes the new EU regulation’s entry into effect, on Saturday. It ends nearly a decade of battle to close several enforcement loopholes that had weakened the previous EU policy. In particular, an exemption used only by Spain and Portugal had allowed some vessels to remove shark fins at sea, which made it extremely difficult even to detect when finning had occurred. Since the beginning of its work in Europe, Oceana has campaigned for a strict ban on shark finning as one important aspect of improved shark fisheries management in the EU.
“At long last, the EU has a real and enforceable ban on shark finning, with global implications,” commented Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “The EU catches more sharks than any country in the world, and plays a key role in regional fisheries management organisations where finning remains an acknowledged problem. After ten years with a flawed ban in place, it can now make a serious effort to tackle the issue internationally.”Read Press Release
With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature on July 26, New York became the eighth state to ban the shark fin trade in the United States. Shark finning is a brutal practice: Fishermen haul live sharks onto boats where their fins are sliced off, and the sharks are then thrown back into the water, alive, to drown or bleed to death. Current reports estimate that over one hundred million sharks are killed every year, most only for their fins, which are often used in shark fin soup. Taking effect July 1, 2014, the law bans the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. Violations are punishable by up to 15 days in jail and $100 fine for each fish.
With his signature, Governor Cuomo closes a major market for shark fins, both as consumers and as a trading hub: New York City has been one of the largest markets for fins outside of Asia, and is the largest port-of-entry on the East Coast. Together with Illinois, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Delaware, and Maryland, New York has effectively closed the majority of the U.S. market for shark fin soup. Beth Lowell, Oceana Campaign Director said, “New York said ‘no’ to shark fins today. The widespread support for this ban shows that sharks are worth more in the oceans than in a bowl of soup. By reducing the demand for their fins in New York, we can help to protect sharks worldwide.”
Following campaigning by Oceana, great white sharks off the California coast have been awarded ‘candidacy’ status under the California Endangered Species Act, which means the state will consider an array of possible management measures that can be put into place to reduce bycatch of white sharks. Possible measures include time and area closures of the fisheries where white sharks are caught, modifications to fishing gear, and strict limits on how many of the sharks may be captured incidentally as bycatch. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will now embark on a one-year in-depth status review of the population. Once the review is complete, the Commission will vote on whether or not to officially list white sharks as threatened or endangered.Read Press Release
Great White Sharks Become Candidates for California Endangered Species Act ProtectionFebruary, 2013
Great white sharks that live off the coast of California are now candidates for protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The California Fish and Game Commission voted today to initiate a comprehensive one-year review of the white shark population to determine if it qualifies for state protection. The state will also consider management measures and new regulations to better protect the sharks. Today’s decision is based on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recommendation to accept a petition to protect the white sharks, filed in August 2012 by three conservation groups. The conservation groups commend both the Commission and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for recognizing the science documenting the perils facing this population of iconic sharks.Read Press Release
The European Parliament approved a strict ban on shark finning, closing a crucial loophole in EU law by requiring that all sharks caught in EU waters, and by EU vessels in international waters, be landed with their fins attached. This is a monumental achievement for sharks and one that Oceana campaigned for. The EU is the world’s largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and mainland China and the new EU rule represents a huge step forward in the conservation of sharks.Read Press Release
In response to petitions filed by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity, Shark Stewards and WildEarth Guardians, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it would consider the West Coast population of great white sharks for listing on the federal Endangered Species Act. The announcement shows that NMFS recognizes the perils facing this unique population of great white sharks. NMFS will conduct an in depth status analysis of the population and will make a final determination of whether to add this population to the federal endangered species list by June 2013.Read Press Release
The EU voted in favor of strictly protecting 10 threatened species of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean Sea, under the Barcelona Convention. These species, including hammerheads, tope, and shortfin mako, have declined dramatically in numbers – some by as much as 99% during the last century – while others have vanished from parts of the Mediterranean where they were once common.Read Press Release
For the first time in its 60-year history, the FAO’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean took action for shark protection. The Commission adopted measures for the management and conservation of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean, the region of highest risk in the world for these fishes. Twenty-three Mediterranean countries endorsed a proposal from the EU that bans the unsustainable practice of shark finning, prohibits trawling in some sensitive near-shore habitats, and requires countries to collect and report data on catches of some threatened species.Read Press Release
We asked our supporters to help us protect manta rays from being made into leather by asking Alibaba.com to take manta ray products off their website. Nearly 40,000 people responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened.
In response to our petition, the company announced that they will no longer include manta ray products on their website. In the past, they’ve taken down listings for shark fins and other unsustainable animal products. Now they will also refrain from selling animals protected under UN policies, including manta and devil rays.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law making it illegal to sell, trade, possess, or distribute shark fins in California. With the governor's signature, the law completes a West Coast ban. California joined the ranks of Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii, who have all passed similar bans. The coastwide ban on the shark fin trade will help protect global populations of at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.Read Press Release