The Chilean National Congress unanimously passed a nationwide ban on shark finning. Oceana drafted the bill and campaigned for its passage.This groundbreaking decision came on the heels of a very similar ban passed by the United States Congress lin December 2010, and puts both countries at the forefront of shark conservation.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate version of the Shark Conservation Act, clearing the final hurdle to ending shark finning in U.S. waters. The Shark Conservation Act improves the existing law originally intended to prevent shark finning. It also allows the U.S. to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous, labelling the U.S. as a continued leader in shark conservation.
ICCAT Improves Conservation Measures for Sharks and Sea Turtles
Though failing to improve protections for bluefin tuna, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) increased the number of shark species prohibited for retention in ICCAT fisheries. Specifically, the group improved conservation measures for oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks and shortfin mako sharks. In addition, ICCAT put in place new measures to reduce sea turtle mortality, such as the use of sea turtle dehooking and disentangling gear as well as mandatory collection and submission of sea turtle bycatch data.
Oceana, along with other conservation organizations, helped advance legislation that would establish a national requirement to land sharks with fins attached. In March 2009, after significant advocacy by Oceana, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 81) to improve existing laws originally intended to prevent shark finning. The bill requires sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached, which allows for better enforcement and data collection for use in stock assessments and quota monitoring.
Saving Hammerhead, Thresher, Blue and Shortfin Mako Sharks
The Spanish government, after campaigning and consulting with Oceana, committed to advancing new shark legislation that would ban the catch of threatened hammerhead and thresher sharks, put in place catch limits for blue sharks and shortfin mako sharks and evaluate the viability of landing sharks “whole” with their fins attached. Spain is one of the largest shark catching and exporting countries in the world.
Spain Commits to Advance Shark Legislation
The Spanish government, after campaigning and consulting with Oceana, committed to advancing new shark legislation that would ban the catch of threatened hammerhead and thresher sharks, put in place catch limits for blue sharks and shortfin mako sharks and evaluate the viability of landing sharks whole with their fins attached. Spain is one of the largest shark catching and exporting countries in the world.
Dr. Lark Agrees to Stop Selling Shark Squalane
After more than a year of pressure from Oceana, Dr. Susan Lark, an online wellness personality who markets health and beauty products, announced that she will sell cosmetic products containing squalane derived from olives rather than deep-sea sharks. More than 15,000 Wavemakers contacted Lark, telling her it was unconscionable to sacrifice already at-risk shark populations for the sake of beauty.
Shark Finning Regulations Finalized
In June 2008, Following advocacy from Oceana, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized a regulation requiring the landing of sharks with their fins still attached in the federal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, also after Oceana’s urging, passed similar regulations in August 2008 for the state waters along the east coast of the United States.
Vermont Country Store Stops Selling Shark Squalane
Thousands of Oceana Wavemakers contacted the Vermont Country Story, a leading catalog retailer, convincing it to stop selling a skin enhancer containing shark squalane. In an ironic note, the product was marketed under the name “Oceana.”
Protecting Sharks from Finning in the EU
Oceana and other members of the Shark Alliance scored a major victory for sharks in the European Parliament when the Parliament decided to reject a recommendation from its own Fisheries Committee to increase the allowable ratio of shark fins to bodies from 5 percent to 6.5 percent.