12 Jun 2008

Legislation to crack down on shark finning progressing through US Congress

3:40 pm on 12 June 2008

A bill intended to crack down on the harvest of sharks for their fins has been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee in the United States.

The bill would strengthen enforcement of an existing ban on removing the fins of a shark and discarding the carcass, which was first established in the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000.

Despite the prohibition, fishermen still go to sea and purchase fins from other vessels, later claiming the fin meets the shark catch weight requirement.

American Samoa Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says the bill would close this loophole, making it illegal for a vessel to carry fins unattached to the shark carcass.

"If you want to catch a shark, that fin better be on that shark before you dispose of it. The loophole that finners have done: let's say you might kill a 400-pound shark, take its fin off, throw the carcass, and then claim that you might have caught a 20-pound shark and say that that fulfills the requirement."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin