May 1, 2013
Losing The Taste for Shark Fins
Our campaign to save a mighty animal
Shark finning means hacking the fins off sharks, often while they're still alive, and throwing them back overboard to die slowly. And for what?
This cruel practice is driven by demand for shark fin soup, an east Asian dish served around the world.
The HSUS and Humane Society International are working many angles to curb this cruel and ecologically devastating practice. We lobby for regulations to prohibit fishing vessels from finning sharks, educate consumers about the plight of sharks, and promote legislation that bans the sale of and trade in shark fins, reducing the demand by reducing the market.
Local bans on the practice of finning sharks and laws to limit shark fishing are not yet numerous or strong enough to affect the levels of consumption of shark fin soup. Countless sharks are still being finned alive in the many countries where no such regulations exist.
Many former shark fin consumers choose to give up this luxury dish when they become aware of the problem. Healthy ocean ecosystems and those who depend on them cannot withstand the ecological damage that will result from the eradication of these top predators.
Shark Protection Timeline
March 2013: The oceanic whitetip shark, the porbeagle shark, three species of hammerhead sharks, and two species of manta rays, great and reef, were listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which will provide regulation on international trade in these species and offer protection from overexploitation.
January 4, 2013: A federal court in San Francisco issued a ruling upholding landmark legislation prohibiting the sale of shark fins in California.
January 1, 2013: The Illinois law banning the sale of shark fins went into effect.
December 12, 2012: The Cook Islands banned the possession, sale, and trade of shark products and put an end to commercial shark fishing in its entire exclusive economic zone.
December 11, 2012: New Westminster City Council unanimously passed a ban on the trade, sale and distribution of shark fins.
December 3, 2012: The City of Duncan in British Columbia, Canada unanimously voted to ban the sale of shark fins, effective January 1, 2013.
December 3, 2012: The government of French Polynesia banned fishing for all shark species in the country’s entire exclusive economic zone, effectively establishing the world’s largest shark sanctuary.
November 15, 2012: Catch and possession of sharks within three nautical miles of the shoreline of American Samoa was banned.
October 25, 2012: The City of Langley in British Columbia, Canada, has banned the sale, purchase, and consumption of shark fins and shark fin products.
October 15, 2012: Calgary has moved a step closer to a ban on the possession, trade, sale, and distribution of shark fin products, with the Calgary City Council announcing its intent to pass the bylaw next year.
August 17, 2012: State Sen. Daylin Leach introduced a bill to ban the sale of shark fins in Pennsylvania.
July 2, 2012: China's state council announces that the Chinese government will no longer serve shark fin dishes at official functions.
July 1, 2012: Illinois becomes the fifth state in the U.S. to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
June 20, 2012: The City of North Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a motion to draft a bylaw to ban the possession, trade, sale, and distribution of shark fin products in the municipality.
May 22, 2012: Port Moody municipality in British Columbia, Canada, passes a ban on the trade, sale and distribution of shark fins.
May 8, 2012: Delaware introduces H.B. 324 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
April 30, 2012: New York introduces S. 6431/A. 7707 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. The bill passed the Assembly but was not picked up by the Senate before the session adjourned.
March 27, 2012: Maryland State Senate passes H.B. 393/S.B. 465 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins, but the bill is later tabled until the following year due to opposition from the shark fishing industry.
March 8, 2012: New Jersey introduces S. 1764/A. 2719 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
January 16, 2012: Virginia State Delegate Mark Sickles introduces H.B.1159 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins but it was later tabled until the following year due to opposition from the shark fishing industry.
December 8, 2011: A federal law is proposed in Canada that would ban the import of shark fins and prohibit shark finning in Canada waters.
October 26, 2011: The Toronto City Council voted overwhelmingly to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins and their byproducts within the Toronto City limits.
October 7, 2011: Governor Jerry Brown of California signed A.B. 376 into law, enacting landmark legislation that will close off Pacific U.S. ports and their role in facilitating the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
June 16, 2011: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law a bill banning the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins.
May 12, 2011: Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a bill prohibiting the sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins and their derivative products, including cartilage supplements.
March 8, 2011: Guam's shark fin ban was signed into law by the governor at a signing ceremony with the Shark Tsunami student advocacy group.
Jan. 27, 2011: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) passed a law introduced by Representative Diego Benavente to ban the possession and sale of shark fins. Representative Benavente is calling on others to follow suit and eventually create a global moratorium on the sale of shark fins.
July 1, 2010: The Philippines' former president, Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and her son, Representative Diosdado, introduced H.B. 174, which seeks to conserve and protect sharks and stingrays by banning the selling of their by-products, including fins. This is the first bill of its kind outside of the U.S. and its territories.
May 29, 2010: Hawaii adopted landmark legislation under the vision and leadership of Senator Clayton Hee—with support from HSUS/HSI, WildAid, and other conservation groups—making the state the first place in the world to end its role in the cruel and destructive shark fin trade. This legislation sent a message to the rest of the world that shark finning is a global problem that requires a global solution.