NEW YORK – Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, was disappointed in the New York Senate’s failure to pass a bill late yesterday that would have banned the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins throughout the state. Although the Senate failed to take action, Oceana applauded the New York Assembly for advancing this shark protection measure.
“While time ran out this year, the widespread support for banning shark fins in New York shows that sharks are worth more in the oceans than in a bowl of soup” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. “By reducing the demand for their fins in New York, we could have helped to protect sharks worldwide.”
The passage of this bill would have marked a significant step forward in shark conservation efforts globally, as New York is the largest importer of shark fins on the East Coast. If signed into law, New York would have become the first non-Pacific state to join California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the growing national movement to protect sharks. A similar bill in Illinois is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
The bill received overwhelmingly broad support, with 60 bipartisan cosponsors and the support of every Chinese-American legislator in the state. The unsustainable demand for shark fins comes from their use in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup, driving the practice of shark finning, slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body back overboard.
Although shark finning is illegal in the United States, there are no federal laws to stop the trade of these fins that are often imported from countries with little or no restrictions on finning. Some shark populations have declined by as much as 99 percent, mostly as a result of unsustainable fishing practices.
Oceana applauds Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), Assembly members Alan Maisel (D-Brooklyn), Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) for leading the charge to protect sharks in New York.
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.