Fantastic news! Earlier this afternoon, the Chilean National Congress passed a nationwide ban on shark finning.
This groundbreaking decision comes on the heels of a very similar ban passed by the United States Congress last December, and puts both countries at the forefront of shark conservation. Oceana drafted the Chilean bill in January, and we are elated to see it pass into law – without a single dissenter.
Shark finning is an inhumane practice that often involves throwing the rest of the shark’s body back into the water once the desired fin is obtained. Despite its cruelty, shark finning is incredibly rampant, due to culinary demand from Asian countries such as China, where shark fin soup is popular.
With the passage of this bill, Chile joins a growing list of countries leading the way in shark conservation. Because sharks do not respect national boundaries, this legislation will help protect shark populations and ocean health in Chile and beyond.
Chile has also become a large shark fin exporter. A Freedom of Information Act request filed by Oceana to the Chilean National Customs Service revealed that between 2006 and 2009, 71 tons of dry shark fins from eight different species were exported.
Without sharks as top predators, the rest of the marine ecosystem suffers a glaring imbalance and entire food chains can be thrown into disarray.
Congrats to our Chilean colleagues for this wonderful victory for sharks and the oceans!