January 7, 2011 Featured Article Read More →

Shark Conservation Act Becomes Law

Modified from here

“The Shark Conservation Act has finally become law, giving much-needed protection to some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures.

Signed by President Obama on January 4, the law closes a major loophole in an existing U.S. ban on shark finning. An estimated 73 million sharks are killed in this fashion every year. While fishing for them will continue, “I think this means less sharks will be killed,” said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group, who helped press Congress for the law.

The Shark Conservation Act bans finning of any sort, on any type of vessel, with one exception: North Carolina’s dogfish fishery, a compromise necessary to secure the vote of Senator Richard Burr. That fishery accounts for one percent of all U.S. shark fishing.

Because fishermen will be required to keep the bodies — which, apart from fins, are largely inedible and not valuable — they’ll have less incentive to fish for sharks or keep them when accidentally caught, said Rand.

The act also allows the United States to block seafood imports from countries that permit shark finning. Similar bans helped reduce high-seas driftnet fishing, an extraordinarily destructive practice that was common in the 1970s and 1980s.

Though the act only applies to U.S. boats and waters, it will have global consequences, said Rand. America’s possession of many small Pacific islands, and the 200 miles of water around them, gives it an enormous fishing zone. Its fleet is one of the world’s largest”.

Posted in: Shark Bites
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