SPRINGFIELD – Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, applauded Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn yesterday for signing into law a ban on the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins throughout the state.
Illinois is the first non-Pacific state to join California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the growing national movement to protect sharks. Although Illinois is far from the ocean, it is a large importer of shark fins that are used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. This market for fins creates an incentive for the practice of shark finning, slicing off a shark’s fins at sea and throwing the body back overboard.
“Illinois set a great example,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. “Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice that has extremely destructive consequences for shark populations. We hope other states will follow in their footsteps.”
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, leading some populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades as a result of this practice.
While shark finning is illegal in the United States, there are no federal laws that address the trade of shark fins. In fact, many shark fins are imported into the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.
“We can encourage shark conservation by reducing the demand for these products,” said Lowell.
Oceana applauds Gov. Quinn, Sen. Antonio Munez (D-Chicago) and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) for their leadership in helping to protect sharks and ocean ecosystems.
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 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.