Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Would a Shark Fin Trade Ban Help or Hurt Sharks?

Should Congress pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017?

by Countable | 12.5.18

  • Marine life activists have long sought to end shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins off of a shark and discarding its body at sea, where it generally drowns, bleeds to death, or is eaten alive by other fish.
  • The practice itself has been illegal in the U.S. since 2000, but the trade in shark fins remains legal.
  • While virtually all stakeholders with an interest in fisheries conservation agree that shark finning is cruel and wasteful, they debate whether or not banning the shark fin trade would ultimately help or hurt shark populations on the whole.

Background

Fishing pressure on threatened shark populations has increased dramatically in recent years, driven largely by demand for shark-fin soup in China and some other Asian countries, where it’s considered a delicacy.

According to a recent study, global shark catches have doubled in 60 years, and overexploitation now threatens almost 60 percent of shark species. Only 12 percent of shark fisheries in the world are sustainable.

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017 would make it illegal to possess, trade, distribute, sell, or purchase shark fins in the U.S., and would prohibit their import or export.

The arguments

According to a report by marine conservation group Oceana, a nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins would reduce the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and reinforce the status of the U.S. as a leader in shark conservation.

However, some marine biologists believe that such a ban would have the opposite effect, and could set shark conservation back decades. They argue that banning all trade in shark fins would damage sustainable, well-managed shark fisheries in the U.S., create unnecessary waste, and have little impact on the global market for shark fins.

Shark fins are by far the most commercially valuable part of the shark. If they are banned altogether, the argument goes, responsible shark fishers would have to catch more sharks overall in order to make up for the financial shortfall from banned fin sales.

Alternatives

Last month, European fishing nations agreed to adopt a proposal to strengthen a regional ban on shark finning. The policy requires that all sharks landed must be brought to shore with their fins naturally attached to their bodies, and vice versa.

The Shark Trust supports this Fins Naturally Attached requirement, not only because it conserves shark populations, but also because it’s easy to enforce.

What do you think?

Should Congress pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017? Should it pursue an alternative model that requires landed sharks’ bodies to be intact? Why or why not? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Velvetfish

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(74)
  • Chris-Breseman
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    I can’t believe this is a real question. Here... lemme cut your arms off and sell them. Does that sound like something you want done to you? No? Then don’t do it to other animals.

    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
  • TuckerWantsLiberty
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    The logic behind voting "Yes" is...what? That this time prohibition will work? This time it won't create a black market populated by unsavory and violent criminals? This time we're going to get the policy just right and there won't be any "totally unexpected" negative side effects? Learn the lesson.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mark
    Voted Maybe
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Not certain. Let’s ask the sharks?

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • cassie
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Stop the carnage! We don’t need shark fin soup. The shark has been so maligned! We are destroying our oceans.....stop the madness!

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • KansasTamale
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Killing any animal for this kind of thing should be outlawed. Especially sharks who get a bad wrap - PEOPLE GET in the SHARK’S SPACE AND THEN BLAME THE SHARK. CRAZY!!! BAN KILLING SHARKS FOR THEIR FINS. IT’S DISGUSTING!!!!

    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hannah
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Sharks are part of the marine life and is a very important species that should be protected .

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Leo
    Voted Maybe
    12/06/2018
    ···

    I understand where both sides are coming from, but I think that the alternative option would be best. Or they could make every shark fin tagged so you can only trade the legal find.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jennifer
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Seriously? Please. Let me cut off your arms and legs and throw you in the ocean. What a dumb freaking question. What is this administration’s penchant for killing all the animals?

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Robert
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Shark fin is the same as rhinoceros horn and every other bullshit idea to make a man penis hard with stamina

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ochoninja
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Sharks are endangered by people taking fins causing bleeding and their death. Unless there is a way of removing safely it should be banned as people think bravery is murdering animals at a distance where they have no chance. Recently. Wolf was killed legally by a trophy hunter because he left the safety area of Park. What is the purpose of allowing these cowardly trophy hunters? Let them only use bows and arrows on those that are for food or need to be thinned out. Let them live in peace

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Delmar
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    We’re gonna destroy them out of existence

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    We can continue to pass laws on everything and they will not address the root cause of the issues. There are specific groups of human beings that exploit every resource, every person, every ecosystem, anything and everything for profits and greed, regardless of considerations for life, or causing pollution, or health problems, or negative impacts to all of the above. If we can address the root cause of all of this, we can start living and stop expending all of our time and resources on stopping all of these negatives. The root cause may be Conservatism. It extends across all race, nationalities, religions, sex, and creed. It has no empathy, no compassion, no ethics, no morals. It only seeks benefits out for itself. Conservatism kills! Let’s save the planet and end Conservatism.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sandra
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    The argument that fishers of sharks would have to then catch MORE sharks if "finning" (sp?) is banned does not fly. Yes, these companies can probably make more money by this heinous practice 'cause they then don't have to process the whole shark....but it is a despicable act and it wastes what else these fishers glean from the entire shark. In short....MONEY should NOT be the deciding factor in whether a despicable, inhumane act should be allowed.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • TrulyTexan
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Eliminate shark fisherman. This is an unnecessary waste to satisfy idiots that want something exotic to eat. Maybe they should try something sustainable like normal people.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Stickyfingers
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Yes! Save the sharks

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Joshua
    Voted Maybe
    12/06/2018
    ···

    If you really want to stop people from doing something, then banning it doesn’t work. Black markets will just pop up every where. Best course of action is to make it legal and regulate it to such an insane level that people will be turned off at the idea of doing that.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Charles
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Why is this a question?

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • James
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Sharks have been decimated by uncontrolled shark fishing. As an important part of the oceans environment the systematic elimination of sharks has unbalanced the oceans. As shark in general is not considered a food source except by China which uses the fibers in its fins as a source of texture in soup. Remarkably the fiber has no taste whatsoever and is merely crunchy. It seems a huge waste to kill a shark for crunchy chicken soup.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jim2423
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    There is a ban on rhino horns and elephant tusks. See what the ban does for them.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Paul
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Yes I support this bill

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Leslie
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Let's consider WHY sharks are being killed for their fins. Asian Men thinking shark's fins will help with Erectile Dysfunction, same with rhinoceros horns. Put the ban ON immediately and start sending Asain countries Viagra! Help God's creatures (except the Asain men) It's disgusting, like the President.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share