Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, called on the United States government today to ban the import of shark products, including fins, cartilage and meat, from countries with insufficient shark protections. Specifically, the group is urging the U.S. to use its power under the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 to take action against countries with weaker shark conservation measures, including China, Japan and Indonesia.
In a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Oceana identified 15 countries that; 1) catch sharks in international waters; 2) exported shark products to the U.S. in 2011; and 3) have weaker shark protection measures than the U.S. The list includes: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru and Spain.
“Although shark finning is banned in the U.S., we import fins from countries with little or no protection for sharks,” said Rebecca Greenberg, marine scientist at Oceana. “By taking action against countries like these, the U.S. can help reduce the demand that leads to shark finning – encouraging improved shark conservation worldwide.”
The U.S. imports hundreds of tons of shark products each year from countries all around the world, the majority of which come from the 15 countries identified above. Oceana’s analysis also found that the U.S. imports shark products from: