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August 2, 2010

Humane Society International, The HSUS Celebrate Shark Protection

Concurrent with the beginning of the 23rd year of Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week, Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States celebrate recent advances in shark conservation and urge the public to take action to protect these magnificent ocean predators.

Sharks are disappearing from the oceans at an astonishingly rapid rate as overfishing and burgeoning demand for their fins, a main ingredient in shark fin soup, have led to the depletion of many populations and some entire species.  

Viewers of Shark Week and shark supporters have much to celebrate this year, though. As of July 1, it is illegal to possess, trade and distribute shark fins in the state of Hawaii. It is the first full ban on shark fin possession in the world. The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International worked in concert with other animal protection groups, lawmakers and conservation activists to bring about this precedent-setting ban. 

Iris Ho, campaign manager of Humane Society International, said, "Shark Week has a great following and presents an excellent forum in which to raise awareness about the threat of extinction facing sharks. We join with Senator John Kerry, who collaborated with Discovery's Shark Week to outlaw shark finning, in urging swift enactment of the Shark Conservation Act (H.R. 81/S. 850) before Congress adjourns in a few months. Ultimately we hope to see shark fins off the menu and the practice of shark finning banned on all fishing vessels around the world."

This week, Humane Society International is offering daily tips and actions that the public can take to help protect sharks, including contacting senators to ask that they co-sponsor the Shark Conservation Act (the House already passed this legislation) and providing cards that people can give to Asian restaurants asking them to take shark fin soup off the menu.

Tips – How Can You Help Sharks?

Day 1: Contact your two U.S. Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Shark Conservation Act (S.850). Take action here!

Day 2: Remember, before you sit down to eat at an Asian food restaurant, ask whether they serve shark fin soup or related products. If the answer is yes, explain to them why you are unable to eat at their restaurant. Visit our site to download and print consumer cards that you can give to restaurant managers.

Day 3: Sign our 'No Shark Fin' pledge and encourage your friends and family to as well.

Day 4: Consider leaving sharks out of your diet. Commonly eaten sharks like mako have lost more than 50 percent of their wild populations, and the EPA warns pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems not to eat shark due to high levels of mercury and other contaminants. Visit here for more info.

Day 5: Do not attend shark tournaments that give prizes for killing sharks. These tournaments vilify sharks and contribute to overall decline in populations.

Day 6: If you have friends who are contemplating serving shark fin soup at their weddings or other celebratory occasions, ask them not to and explain why. Tell them to visit our website to download table tents they can use to explain their decision to guests.

Day 7: If you have enjoyed the six days of actions and tips, please visit hsi.org for more information.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

Follow HSI on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.

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