Science

The US is banning the sale of shark fins. Why here

The US is set to ban the buying and selling of shark fins, a tempting ingredient in some dishes but linked to a practice condemned by wildlife advocates as cruel and unethical.

The Senate on Thursday approved a provision called the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which was inserted into an annual military policy bill that is headed for President Joe Biden’s signature. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act represents a multi-year effort by lawmakers to ban the shark fin trade under pressure from animal rights and environmental organizations such as the Animal Welfare Institute and Oceana.

Shark fins are the main ingredient in shark fin soup, a delicacy in some Asian cultures due to its perception as a luxury food and status symbol. Because it is so prized, a pound of shark fin can sell for hundreds of dollars, making it one of the most expensive types of seafood by weight.

But collecting shark fins has long been criticized by animal rights activists because fishermen harvest shark fins, then toss the mutilated animals back into the ocean, where they are unable to survive.

It is unknown how many shark fins are collected each year, but the rights group Animal Welfare Action said it is believed to affect up to 70 million sharks each year. Several states have already banned the sale of shark fins.

“Shark finning conjures up the brutality and wanton destruction of the medieval ages,” Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Welfare Action, said in a statement. “But it is a modern evil, and the United States has determined that this trade is no longer legal in our country.”


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However, some critics of the bill argue that it will not prevent fishing crews from catching sharks. One commercial fisherman told The Washington Post that New Jersey’s ban on the sale of shark fins means he simply cuts off the fins and throws them away, while selling the rest of the sharks.

Kevin Wark, who catches sharks and monkfish from his base in Bangate Light, NJ, told the Post, “The ban is the poster child of people who are doing something to make themselves feel good and think they’re going to save the species.” Huh.” “It just creates a system of waste.”


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