DOVER, Del. – Yesterday, the Delaware state Senate passed a bill that bans the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins throughout the state. The Delaware state Assembly has already passed the legislation, and it will now be sent to Gov. Jack Markell to be signed into law. Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, congratulates Delaware lawmakers for taking this important step towards shark conservation nationwide.
“Healthy ocean ecosystems depend on healthy shark populations, but the demand for shark fins is driving these vulnerable predators to the brink of extinction,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. “Delaware policymakers have shown their commitment to shark and ocean conservation by passing this important bill.”
If the bill is signed into law, Delaware would join California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Illinois in the growing national movement to protect sharks. Similar legislation passed in Maryland is awaiting the governor’s signature, and New York is considering a ban as well.
Shark finning, which involves slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body back overboard, often still alive, is illegal in the United States, however the demand for shark fins is driving the overexploitation of sharks worldwide, including in areas where finning is still allowed. In fact, some shark populations have declined by as much as 99 percent in recent decades due to overfishing.
“By reducing demand for shark fin products, we reduce the incentive for shark finning,” said Lowell. “If Delaware residents want healthy oceans worldwide, they should support this bill.”
Oceana applauds Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow) and Sen. Robert Venables (D-Laurel) for sponsoring this important legislation.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to protect sharks, please click here.