Returning from a week-long assignment, I was pleased to find that the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 had moved along one more step towards reaching President Obama's desk.
The Senate's version (S. 850), introduced by Sen. John Kerry, which is similar to the House version (H. 81) introduced last year by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee yesterday. Hopefully, any differences between the two pieces of legislation can be quickly ironed out so that it can move along towards a vote and then on to the White House.
The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 requires that all legally caught sharks within U.S. waters must retain their fins. That prevents shark finning and impacts the attractiveness of fishing for fins when the fishing boat must also retain the entire shark carcass, taking up more cargo space which is less profitable.
According to an Oceana.org press release, "Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring. The Act would also close a loophole that allows the transfer of fins at sea as a way to get around current law. Additionally, the bill would allow the United States to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous."
You can log on to Oceana.org and send an email message to your senator, asking him/her to support passage of this important shark conservation legislation. We must also support international organizations like CITES and others that seek protection for sharks outside of U.S. or other national waters. International waters needed protection and enforcement, too.