Posts Tagged 'maryland general assembly'



Act Now! Help Maryland Become a Leader in Saving Worldwide Shark Populations

Our research team tags sharks off the coast of Ocean City every year to gather data on migration and abundance!

Our research team tags sharks off the coast of Ocean City every year to gather data on migration and abundance

Shark populations worldwide are in danger of collapse due to fishing pressures stimulated in part by the global demand for a non-nutritional delicacy known as shark fin soup. Scientists now estimate that nearly 97 million sharks - or roughly 7% of their worldwide populations – are killed every year. The best way to stop this practice is to eliminate the demand, which is exactly what the National Aquarium and our partners are proposing via legislation that will help eliminate the market for shark fins in Maryland.

Current Federal and Maryland laws ban shark “finning” by requiring that sharks be caught and delivered to market with their fins intact.  However, no current laws restrict the number of sharks killed for their fins, or limit the economic incentives to overfish sharks for their fins.

The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill – House Bill 1148 and Senate Bill 592 – that would ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins. If passed, Maryland would join Hawaii, Washington, California, Oregon, and Illinois  and would become the first state on the East Coast to end our involvement in the unsustainable and inhumane market for shark fins. This is Maryland’s opportunity to lead.

The bill is currently being debated in the House Environmental Matters Committee and will likely be debated in the House over the next two days.  Act now by calling or emailing your legislators and urge them to vote for sharks.

Sharks are integral to the health of our oceans yet worldwide fishing pressure, driven by the demand for shark fins, is simply too great to allow sharks to have sustainable populations.

As part of our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, we take very seriously our responsibility to educate guests on the majesty and importance of sharks to the worlds’ oceans.  With your help, Maryland could become a leader in saving worldwide shark populations!

A Blue View: The Environment Up Close at the 2013 Maryland General Assembly

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

January 15, 2013: The Start of the Maryland General Assembly

Listen to John discuss the important environmental legislation that will be debated during this session of the Maryland General Assembly. *

The 433rd legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly opened on January 9, and with it, several environmental issues that will shape the future of life in Maryland are being debated.

Issues like shark finning, plastic consumption, hydraulic fracturing and wind energy affect the people of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed every day, and the quality of life in our state going forward.

Our government affairs team will be hard at work in Annapolis this year to advocate on behalf of these environmental initiatives.

Want to stay up to date on National Aquarium’s legislative efforts?  CLICK HERE to sign up for e-mail updates!

*Editor’s note: The audio and script for this week’s A Blue View incorrectly referred to 2013′s legislative session as the 429th. It is the 433rd.

Maryland Legislators Announce Recycle for Real Bill

National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli with Sen. Bill Ferguson, Del. Maggie McIntosh and Del. John A. Olszewski after their announcement of Recycle for Real.

National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli with Sen. Bill Ferguson, Del. Maggie McIntosh, and Del. John A. Olszewski after their announcement of Recycle for Real.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee, Delegate John Olszewski, and Senator Bill Ferguson today announced Recycle For Real™, a legislative initiative to boost Maryland’s recycling rates. The bill aims to create a “fully refundable 5-cent beverage container deposit that will provide a financial incentive for Marylanders to redeem and reuse the billions of beverage containers sold in the state each year,” according to the press release.

Revenue from unredeemed beverage containers would go to benefit statewide environmental programs as well as recycling programs in Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

Maryland’s recycling rate is currently a dismal 22 percent – the majority of the approximately four billion beverage containers used every year find their way into Maryland’s landfills, highways, the Inner Harbor, and all around the Chesapeake Bay.

Plastic pollution has gotten out of hand in our local waters! Photo via Chesapeake Bay Program

Plastic pollution has gotten out of hand in our local waters! Photo via Chesapeake Bay Program

If passed by the Maryland General Assembly, Recycle For Real™ has the potential to increase the state’s beverage container recycling rate to 75 percent. Maryland would join 10 other states currently operating deposit programs and have an average recycling rate of 76 percent.

National Aquarium’s Government Affairs team will be working with the sponsors of Recycle For Real™ and other conservation groups over the next few months in Annapolis to make sure this initiative is successful.

Want to stay up to date about the container deposit bill and other National Aquarium conservation priorities?  CLICK HERE to sign up for legislative updates!

Stay tuned for more updates on Recycle for Real™ and other important local conservation initiatives. 

Gearing Up for a Busy Legislative Session in Maryland!

national aquarium flags

Today at noon, Maryland’s lawmakers will gather for the 433rd session in the state’s history to deliberate on an estimated 2,500 bills (ranging from education funding to what to name the official state sandwich!).

For the next 90 days, these lawmakers will debate and pass legislation that will affect not only Maryland’s waterways but the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the sustainability of the world’s oceans. As part of National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, our Government Affairs team is committed to shaping conservation and environmental policy at the local, state and federal levels.

National Aquarium’s Government Affairs team will be fighting for the following conservation priorities at the State level:

  • Shark Fin Bill: Legislation that would make Maryland the first East Coast state to ban the possession, sale and trade of shark fins in order to provide critical protection to endangered shark populations;
  • Plastic Bag Bill: Legislation to curb the use of plastic bags, similar to laws passed in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County;
  • Container Deposit Bill: Legislation to incentivize the recycling of beverage containers that would increase recycling rates from (a dismal) 25 percent to 75 percent or more.

Want to stay informed? The National Aquarium Government Affairs team will be sending regular legislative updates on these conservation policy priorities and ways you can get involved throughout the session!

CLICK HERE to sign up for legislative updates!
For more information on how the National Aquarium is living its mission in Maryland, visit www.aqua.org/Maryland.

Want to know who represents you? Find your legislator here.

We will also be bringing you periodic legislative updates on our WATERblog! In addition to pushing for these top conservation priorities, there are numerous bills being discussed that impact our community and environment. Is there an issue you’re passionate about this session? Join the conservation on Twitter and/or Facebook and let us know!


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