NOAA on shark fin trade bans
To close a glaring loophole in the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, bans on the possession, sale and trade in shark fins have been passed by 11 US states and territories, and similar legislation is pending in additional states. Last May, NOAA Fisheries (the federal agency which protects the fishing industry) announced that it might overturn the state laws. NOAA has announced on their website that they will not challenge the laws passed by of California, Maryland and Washington. "It was important for NOAA to confirm that these state laws did not restrict the possession of shark fins in a way that would create problems for fishermen fishing legally for sharks in federal waters," the agency said. The statement spells out in letters to the states of California, Maryland and Washington reasons why it decided against challenging their state laws. NOAA Fisheries says hopes it will be able to reach similar agreements with other states that have strengthened the Shark Conservation Act. We sincerely hope that NOAA’s decisions will be guided by science and ocean stewardship.