February 2022 is likely to be a watershed moment for shark conservation, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act, which includes the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. The bipartisan shark fin bill, which passed the Senate last June, would ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States and help reduce the killing of more than 100 million sharks each year for shark fins, meat, and oil. Because the shark fin bill appears in both chambers’ versions, it should reach President Biden’s desk after the broader bill emerges from committee. Moore Charitable applauds Oceana and Whitney Webber, Oceana’s campaign director, for their dedicated efforts to advance this important legislation to curb the trade of shark fins in the United States and will contribute to the survival of the species! The health of our oceans and the livelihood of coastal communities depend on it.
Sharks play a critical role in the health of marine ecosystems, and their preservation has a significant impact on local economies and communities that rely on seasonal tourism. Despite their global importance, a 2021 study by Nature estimates that shark and ray populations have declined more than 70 percent in the past 50 years, largely due to shark finning and overfishing.
To combat this alarming population decline, The Moore Charitable Foundation joined the funders’ collaborative Shark Conservation Fund, which has engaged in more than 50 countries around the world to halt the overexploitation of sharks and rays. The fund works to reverse declines, prevent extinctions, regulate global trade, and combat unsustainable fishing.
Shockingly, although shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, fins still can be bought and sold throughout much of the United States. These fins are often imported from countries that have inadequate protections for sharks. Biden’s signature on the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act would end this insidious practice and show strong U.S. leadership while giving shark populations the opportunity to recover.