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New York State Senate passes shark protection bill
Published:  26 April, 2013

Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, has applauded the New York State Senate's passing of a bill that will ban the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins throughout the state.

Oceana says it will encourage the New York Assembly to follow the Senate’s footsteps and pass the bill to help protect the world’s shark populations.

“The widespread support for a ban on the shark fin trade shows that sharks are worth more in the oceans than in a bowl of soup. By reducing the demand for their fins in New York, we can help protect sharks worldwide,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana.

The passage of this bill would mark a significant step forward in shark conservation efforts globally, as New York is the largest importer of shark fins on the East Coast. If signed into law, New York will become one of the first East Coast states to join California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Illinois in the growing national movement to protect sharks. A similar bill was recently passed in Maryland and currently awaits Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature.

The unsustainable demand for shark fins comes from their use in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup, driving the wasteful practice of shark finning, slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body back overboard.

“After the disappointing end to last year’s session, New York is getting a second chance to do the right thing for sharks,” Lowell said. “Shark finning has extremely destructive consequences for shark populations worldwide, and this bill targets the trade that drives this practice.”

Although shark finning is illegal in the United States, there are no federal laws to stop the trade of these fins that are often imported from countries with little or no restrictions on finning. Some shark populations have declined by as much as 99 percent in recent decades, mostly as a result of unsustainable fishing practices.

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