ANNAPOLIS – Today, the Maryland State Senate approved a bill that would strengthen regulations on the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. The Maryland House of Representatives already passed the bill last month, and it will now go to Gov. Martin O’Malley to be signed into law. Oceana applauds Maryland legislators for their leadership in helping to reduce the market for shark fin sales. Although the practice of shark finning is illegal in the United States, there are currently no federal laws addressing the trade of these fins, which are often used in the popular Asian delicacy shark fin soup. During the past two years, similar bans have been enacted in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Illinois, and the movement is now gaining increased momentum on the East Coast. “Today’s vote on this crucial piece of legislation is a great step forward in the global fight to protect sharks,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. “By decreasing the demand for these fins, we can not only stop the overexploitation of these creatures, but also keep our ocean ecosystems healthy and balanced.” Tens of millions of sharks are killed worldwide each year for their fins, and many of these fins are imported into the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place. Shark populations have even declined by as much as 99 percent in recent decades due to overfishing and destructive gear. “With the support of this bill, Maryland legislators are saying we need to stop the trade of these fins that contributes to plummeting shark populations worldwide,” said Lowell. Oceana would like to thank Sen. Brian Frosh (D-16) and Del. Eric Luedtke (D-14) for introducing this important legislation.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to protect sharks, please click here. -30- 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 550,000 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.