SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the Humane Society of the United States and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation delivered letters to Senate and House sponsors in strong support of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.
Signed by SeaWorld President and CEO Joel Manby, HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle and renowned marine life artist Guy Harvey, the letter reaffirms all three organizations’ commitment to strengthening federal laws to end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
Shark finning—cutting off a shark’s fins while the shark is alive and conscious, then discarding the critically injured animal to die —leads to the deaths of upwards to 75 million sharks each year for a mere five percent of their body weight. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has estimated that a quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction.
“The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would strengthen federal laws against the bloody and wasteful practice of shark finning and takes vital steps toward both protecting sharks from cruelty as well as preserving our oceans’ fragile ecosystems,” the authors write. “This is a mainstream, common-sense proposal that has already been embraced in ten of our most-populated and diverse states, including Texas, California and New York.”
The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 would expand on prior legislation limiting the practice, including the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 and the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. While the Shark Finning Prohibition Act and the Shark Conservation Act banned shark finning and the transportation of any such fins on U.S.-flagged vessels, the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would aid much needed shark finning prevention efforts by prohibiting the trade of shark fins.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the HSUS and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation have pledged their help to educate the public about the adverse effects of shark finning, including its cascading effects on our planet and marine ecosystems, including fewer oysters and clams and damaged coral reefs.
“Public policymakers and private organizations like ours have the opportunity to collaborate to reduce fear and misinformation about sharks while promoting the conservation of shark species and habitats,” the authors write. “We hope that you will consider us as resources and allies in the fight against finning.”
Guy Harvey and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment already have collaborated at SeaWorld Orlando to further public education on sharks with the unveiling of a redesigned Shark Wreck Reef area, including the new Mako attraction. Harvey, the host of these interactive education experiences at the park, has partnered with SeaWorld to contribute portions of the proceeds from related merchandise to fund ocean conservation efforts and scientific research.
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- Media Relations