U.S. Passes Shark Conservation Act, But Loopholes Remain

Despite opposition from Republicans, U.S. government passed the Shark Conservation Act this week, prohibiting the practice of finning for almost all species of sharks.

The Washington post reports that “the measure – which the Senate passed Monday and the House passed Tuesday morning – requires any vessel to land sharks with their fins attached, and prevents non-fishing vessels from transporting fins without their carcasses.”

The legislation also provides a framework for Federal officials to work with international trading partners that don’t have similar shark protections in place.

“Sharks are in serious trouble,” Matt Rand, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Shark Conservation Campaign said in a statement on Monday. “An estimated 73 million are killed every year primarily to support the global shark fin trade.

“The Senate has acted decisively today to help protect sharks, the predators at the top of the global marine food chain,” Rand continued. “The Shark Conservation Act would once and for all end the practice of shark finning in U.S. waters and give the United States the credibility to persuade other nations and international fishery managers to follow suit.”

Unfortunately, some of the modifications have left loopholes that mean some shark species could still be targeted for finning.

SouthernFriedScience reports:

“Fishermen can still remove the fins of smooth dogfish [sharks] at sea (and can now do so with a much higher fin:body weight ratio than before). This was arguably was what holding up the bill in the first place (that it would cause problems for what is arguably the first sustainable elasmobranch fishery in the world).

“In brief, the Senate has decided that smooth dog fishermen are allowed to remove fins at sea as long as the weight of the fins landed isn’t more than 12% of the weight of the rest of the shark.”

Despite this loophole, the long-overdue legislation has the potential to protect the vast majority of shark species, 30 percent of which are threatened with extinction.

Image Credit: Flickr - usfwspacific


Jane L.
Jane L6 years ago

Just watching a documentary about Brazil fisherman selling bags of large sharks fins for $50 a pound. These shark fins are from sharks that are 20 to 30 years old. No matter the species of shark, they are all under attack. The longer that I live the more that I prefer animals to humans. It is a hopeless situation because the gluttony and entitlement of humans.

Nicole S.
Nicole S.7 years ago

Wow... it's a great step towards persuading other countries and the international fishery. I just wonder if any of these legislators took into account the almost 4,000 recreational for-hire vessels that would be impacted by the fineprint of this bill. Unfortunately it will only squeeze legitamite small businesses already regulated to death. The scumbags in the industry will be slapped on the hand... What a shame.

Jami Winn
Jami Winn7 years ago


Monique N.
Monique Ng7 years ago

I am pretty dissapointed to see that they have already passed this new law, while I have been doing research for nights hoping that this will make a difference.... But it's nice to find out that the sharks are somewhat being protected. Hope that there will be completely no loophole

Nita Smith
Nita Smith7 years ago

I'm pleased to hear about this - the world has seen it in the media and is horrified that it goes on. Yes, we must now fight hand and tooth for the dogfish

Carol Joan P.
Carol Joan P7 years ago

Hope the loopholes are closed SOON!

Faithann Ort
Faithann Ort7 years ago

That's great how they pass the Shark Conservation Act! Hopefully they will start passing animals safety and all!

Faithann O.
Faithann O7 years ago

That's great how they pass the Shark Conservation Act! Wonderful!!!! I'm happy for the sharks!

Anja N.
Justin R7 years ago

Another Micky Mouse law!

(sorry Micky don't take it personal, dealing with Goofy's)

Lisa B.
Lisa B7 years ago

If the dogfish was what was holding up the legisalation, then it's best to let it go for the well fare of the other species and then take up the fight for their protection later. This is a good step forward.