Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shark Conservation Act Passes US House

Photo: Stuart Cove
One day after being passed by the United States Senate, HR 81 Shark Conservation Act of 2009 has passed the United States House of Representatives. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama's desk for signing.

The Shark Conservation Act completely prohibits the removal of shark fins at sea; It requires that all sharks be landed in port with their fins naturally attached, replacing the rule that allowed for sharks to be finned at sea if certain conditions were met. The Shark Conservation act also closes loopholes in the current finning law and promotes shark conservation in other countries.

The bill, according to a summary:

• “eliminates an enforcement loophole related to the transport of shark fins by prohibiting any vessel from having custody, control, or possession of shark fins without the corresponding carcass";

• “strengthens enforcement by deleting the rebuttable presumption that any shark fins landed were taken, held or landed in violation of the law if the total weight of shark fins landed or found on board exceeds 5 percent of the total weight of shark carcasses”;

• “specifies that all sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached”;

• “amends the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act to allow the secretary of Commerce to identify and list nations that have fishing vessels that have not adopted a regulatory program for the conservation of sharks that is similar to the U.S.; and”

• “promotes the conservation of sharks internationally and provides a more equal playing field for U.S. fishermen.”
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