|Photo: Carlos Villoch|
The bill now returns to the United States House of Representatives where it must pass by a majority vote before heading to the desk of President Barack Obama for signing. Shark Defenders will update our blog as things progress. There is one week left in this session, so hopefully this will law will be passed before the week is out.
The Hill is the first media outlet to report on these developments:
Senate passes bill to restrict U.S. shark fin tradingPew Environment Group and Oceana have also released statements.
By Andrew Restuccia
The Senate passed legislation Monday to put restrictions on shark fin trading in the United States.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), closes a number of loopholes in a ban on shark finning imposed by then-President Clinton.
While the House has already passed a version of the bill, it still needs to approve the Senate version, because Kerry’s office made a number of technical changes to the legislation.
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.”