NEW YORK – Today, the New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee voted in favor of a bill (S.6431) that would ban the trade, sale, possession and distribution of shark fins throughout the state.
If the bill is signed into law, New York would become the first East Coast state to join California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the growing national movement to protect sharks. The Governor of Illinois is expected to sign similar legislation into law soon, and shark fin trade ban bills are also pending in Delaware and New Jersey. Oceana’s campaign director Beth Lowell applauded the decision and issued the following statement:
“Today’s crucial vote marks an important step for shark conservation nationwide. New York is the largest hub for imported shark fins on the East Coast, which are usually used as an ingredient in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. The bill currently has broad, bi-partisan support in the Legislature, with the sponsorship of 60 state legislators, in addition to the support from a dozen New York City Council Members and every Chinese-American legislator in the state.
Millions of sharks are killed each year through the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning, when a shark’s fins are sliced off and its body is thrown back overboard. This practice not only decimates shark populations, but it harms the health of entire marine ecosystems.
Shark fin trade bans decrease the global incentive for shark finning by reducing the demand for the product. Oceana thanks Committee Chairman Mark Grisanti for his leadership on this important issue and we urge the New York Legislature to keep the momentum going on this bill.”
Although shark finning is illegal in the United States, there are no federal laws that address the shark fin trade. Many shark fins are imported into the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to protect sharks, please click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.