Congress Passes Shark Conservation Act

shark fin soup photo

photo via flickr

There are a lot predators in Congress, so maybe it's not a total surprise that the Senate has joined the House to protect sharks by banning shark finning, the brutal practice of cutting off a shark's fin and throwing its body back into the sea. Specifically, the "Shark Conservation Act" prevents vessels from coming back to land with only fins and with no sharks attached to them. No word yet if President Obama will sign the bill.There was one important exemption to the legislation: Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) insisted that the bill allow for the fishing of dogfish fins off North Carolina's coast as long as they don't go over more than 12 percent of the total weight of the catch.

Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) wrote House legislation that was amended for Burr:

"While I am not supportive of this exemption, I think it is important to note that this fishery represents less than 1 percent of all the shark fishing in the United States and that the restrictions on shark finning currently in the law will still apply to them."

Ah, the art of compromise in Washington. Got to love it. Congress acted after the rise of the popularity of shark fin soup, considered to be a delicacy in some cultures. Basketball player Yao Ming and Mad Men star January Jones have spoken out against shark finning, and the eNGO Oceana has a campaign to stop it.

January Jones is Scared for Sharks from Oceana on Vimeo.

More on Shark Fin Soup:
Yao Ming Shuns Shark Fin Soup
New Study finds that half a million sharks are finned every year in Ecuador

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