A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agent counts confiscated shark fins.
The Senate has moved to close a loophole that allows fishing concerns in America’s corner of the Pacific Ocean to engage in finning—that’s when you catch a shark, cut off its fin and dump the mutilated, still living-but-not-for-long animal back in the water so it can suffer to death.
It’s not just a matter of shark torture; overfishing poses a threat to some shark species. —PZS
Finning is already illegal in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Gulf of Mexico, but loopholes have allowed the practice to continue in the Pacific. Last year, 1.2 million pounds of shark were caught in the Pacific, according to NOAA.
Sharks are severely threatened around the world as a result of finning—there are estimated to be as few as 3,500 Great Whites left in the wild, and many other species are declining rapidly as well. And measures like these, which are necessary and should be applauded, won’t seriously curtail the practice until demand issues are addressed at the root. The black market for shark fins, after all, remains a major, destructive force.