Yesterday, Michael LeVine, Pacific Senior Council, Oceana, testified on the “Offshore Energy and Jobs Act” (H.R. 2231) in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the Committee on Natural Resources. H.R. 2231 would force the Secretary of the Interior to offer lease sales in vast areas of U.S. ocean waters, including the U.S. Arctic Ocean, where Shell’s 2012 exploration attempt resulted in a season of mishaps and near-disasters.
With the session ending in just three days, Delaware may become the first East Coast state to ban the shark fin trade. HB 324, the bill banning the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins throughout the state, has already passed the Delaware State Assembly and it’s now up to the Senate to finish the job.
Shark fins are primarily used for shark fin soup, a delicacy in many Asian communities. This demand for shark fins, however, drives the cruel practice of shark finning, slicing a shark’s fins off and throwing the body overboard. This bill would decrease the demand for fins, and prevent Delaware from becoming a state used to transport fins to larger markets in other East Coast states, like New York.
Some species of sharks have declined by as much as 99 percent, mainly from the demand for shark fins. As the top predators in the ocean food chain, sharks help keep our oceans in balance.
The importance of passing a shark fin ban bill in Delaware is a small step in a bigger picture. Other states that have enacted laws banning shark fin sales include California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, and similar legislation is awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s signature in Illinois.
Oceana commends the Delaware State Assembly on their important action to save sharks, and calls upon the Delaware Senate to do the same!