Shark populations worldwide are in danger of collapse due to fishing pressures stimulated by the global demand for shark fin soup. Every year fins from tens of millions of sharks are used for this traditional, but non-nutritional meal. Many species have been depleted nearly to the brink of extinction. The National Aquarium and its partners are advocating on behalf of legislation that will help eliminate the market for shark fins in Maryland.
Current Federal and Maryland laws banning shark finning control shark handling practices but do not restrict the number of sharks killed just for their fins, or the substantial market for shark fins which creates economic incentives to overfish sharks just for their fins. One of the most effective ways to protect sharks is to eliminate the market for fins by prohibiting their sale. California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington have all banned the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins, and now it’s our opportunity to lead.
With our support, the Maryland State Senate has passed the bill (Senate Bill 465) that would ban the possession or distribution of shark fins in the state. Now, it will be heard in the House of Delegates. This legislation will establish Maryland as the first state on the east coast to join these other states in ensuring we are not contributing to the supply and demand of shark fins.