CNMI delegate introduces ban on US shark fin trade

8:08 am on 29 June 2016

The Northern Marianas delegate to the US legislature Gregorio Kilili Sablan will introduce a bill to ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the entire United States.

Mr Sablan is teaming up with the ocean conservation group, Oceana, and the movie star and environmental spokesman Morgan Freeman.

His "Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016" takes its lead from a law enacted by the CNMI in 2011 that makes it illegal to possess, sell, or distribute shark fins in the islands.

Shark fins found in the freezer of the Shuen De Ching No.888. In total there were sacks containing 75 kilograms of shark fins from at least 42 sharks. Under Taiwanese law and Pacific fishing rules, shark fins may not exceed 5% of the weight of the shark catch. 9 Sep 2015

Shark fins Photo: Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Both the CNMI law and Mr Sablan's new bill allow sharks to be caught for non-commercial subsistence purposes or with a government permit.

The bill seeks to stop the world-wide decline in shark populations by taking away the U.S. market for shark fins and removing a major economic incentive for shark finning.

An estimated 73 million sharks are being caught each year for their fins and, in most cases, they are then thrown back in the water to drown.