WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / June 4, 2019 / With shark conservation one of the many issues being discussed at this year’s Capitol
Hill Ocean Week, the Sustainable Shark Alliance (SSA) thinks it’s important to have a fact-based conversation about sharks. A recent interview given by SSA to Channel
News Asia highlights the importance of sustainable domestic shark fisheries, and demonstrates why bills being considered by Congress would harm responsible U.S. fishermen, without benefiting global shark conservation.
SSA has long opposed attempts to punish law-abiding U.S. shark fishermen by banning the sale of responsibly harvested shark fins, which is what proposed legislation like the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (SFSEA) would do. As SSA’s Rick Marks states in his interview, the U.S. represents less than one percent of the world shark fin market; banning the sale of shark fins here would not impact the global shark trade.
Rick Marks, speaking to Channel News Asia
“It will have no effect on global shark conservation and will only harm law-abiding U.S. fishermen,” he stated in the interview.
Instead, SSA has advocated for more practical solutions, like the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act (SSFTA). SSFTA creates a transparent certification program for countries seeking to import shark products into the United States. Countries involved in the U.S. shark and ray market must have an effective prohibition on the reprehensible and wasteful practice of shark finning, and have shark and ray management policies comparable to those under the U.S. Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Facts are important in the shark conservation debate, but the reality of U.S. shark fishing is often lost in the discussion. In 2017, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ) dramatically
inflated the number of incidences of illegal shark finning in U.S. waters, based on a footnote error in a NOAA document. While the Senator claimed that there were over 500 incidences in a 10-year period, the actual number was only 85. Shark finning has been illegal in U.S. waters since 2000.
Sen. Cory Booker (D, NJ) in a hearing on shark conservation
This confusion has continued into the current debate. At a hearing in March, Linda McCaul of EarthEcho International, the wife of Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, testified on behalf of SFSEA. Wearing her Congressional spouse pin, she delivered testimony including several pictures of shark fins and the aftermath of shark finning. However, several of the photos were taken overseas, not in the United States. They may reflect the horrific practice of shark finning as it occurs abroad, but they have no relationship to legal and sustainable shark fishing is practiced in the U.S., and should not have been used as evidence of an alleged need to restrict a well-managed domestic fishery.
Linda McCaul, testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee
About the Sustainable Shark Alliance
The Sustainable Shark Alliance (SSA) is a coalition of shark fishermen and seafood dealers that advocates for sustainable U.S. shark fisheries and supports well-managed and healthy shark populations. The SSA stands behind U.S. shark fisheries as global leaders in successful shark management and conservation.
SOURCE: Sustainable Shark Alliance
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