National Groups Back CNMI Delegate’s Bill To Stop Shark Fin Trade

Kilili pushes for U.S. federal government to outlaw possession, trade of fins

By Dennis B. Chan

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 6, 2016) – Throwing more weight behind a bill to stop the shark finning trade around the nation, the Human Society of the United States, SeaWorld, and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation have written to U.S. Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) to support “immediate action to halt the bloody shark fin trade.”

Sablan introduced the bill, or the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 on June 23 and the groups wrote a June 29 letter to the lawmaker expressing their support of the bill.

“You and your cosponsors have been leaders in efforts to prevent wildlife poaching and trafficking,” write Joel Manby, Seaworld chief executive officer; Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States; and founder Guy Harvey, in the two-page letter to Sablan. “We applaud your turning this hard-won expertise and influence to the shark trade.”

The groups say finning demands the cutting of fins, a small percentage of body weight, from living sharks and then discarding the fatally wounded animals to die.

Upwards of 75 million sharks are killed every year, far outpacing many species’ capacities to replenish, the groups said.

As result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list of Threatened Species has estimated that a quarter of all shark species are threatened with extinction, the groups said, and studies have shown that hark population declines ripple out to affect the global marine ecosystems in “alarming and irreversible ways.”

The groups said they join Sablan’s efforts and are also working to educate the public about the urgent need for shark and ocean conservation.

The groups said the U.S. has already banned shark finning, in recognition of its brutality and waste, and Sablan’s bill would take the “responsible next step” to protect endangered wildlife and marine ecosystems by brining federal law in line with trade and possession bands already adopted in eleven of the U.S. most large and diverse states, including Texas, California, and New York.

Saipan Tribune
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