SeaWorld has delivered a letter to the Senate and House sponsors to applaud the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, along with support from the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
The President and CEO of SeaWorld, Joel Manby, and the HSUS President and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, and the Founder of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey, have signed the letter. A media report said the companies signed the letters to support ending the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
“While shark finning is already banned in the U.S., this bill would further discourage finning around the world by banning the commercial possession and trade of shark fins within our country,” wrote the letter authors.
“This is a mainstream, common-sense proposal that has already been embraced in eleven of our most-populated and diverse states, including Texas, California and New York.”
Shark finning involves cutting off a shark’s fin while it’s still alive and conscious, before throwing the animal away. This leads to the deaths of over 75 million sharks each year, while only using five percent of their body weight, according to a press release from the organizations.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a Red List of Threatened Species that estimated a quarter of shark and ray species are at risk of extinction, according to the release.
“Studies have shown that shark population declines affect the balance of marine ecosystems in alarming ways,” wrote the letter authors. “For example, sharks’ absence from the food chain is indirectly wiping out coral reefs that have grown for thousands of years around the world.”
The new legislation will expand the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 and the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. The most significant new ban is the prohibition of trading shark fins.
“As America celebrates Shark Week 2016, public policymakers and conservation organizations like ours have the opportunity to collaborate to reduce fear and misinformation about sharks while promoting the protection of shark species and habitats,” wrote the letter authors in the final paragraph.
They concluded the letter with: “We hope that you will consider us as resources and allies in the fight against finning.”
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