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!