U.S. takes aim at global shark fin trade

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is currently reviewing the funding and implementation of a long-awaited ban on the trafficking of shark fins through U.S. ports, a move that could disrupt their broader global trade.

NOAA’s review comes after President Joe Biden signed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act into law in December. It’s a move that some scientists and researchers have fought for years, pointing to a deep debate about just how the U.S. should use its influence to end the global fin trade.

On one side, many experts including some in NOAA and its parent agency, the Department of Commerce, have argued that the new law will undo decades of U.S. work to encourage sustainable practices.

“Domestic bans on harvesting fins would also undermine our efforts to promote international dialogue and negotiations on sustainable shark management,” Chris Oliver, NOAA’s fisheries assistant administrator, wrote in 2020. “Responsibly participating in the global fin trade allows the United States to showcase our strong conservation and management practices overseas.”

The Department of Commerce said in response to a request for comment: “The Department of Commerce, through NOAA Fisheries, is evaluating the newly enacted provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and is reviewing the legislation to determine next steps.” Oliver did not respond to a request for comment.

Others now see a different path for U.S. leadership that is less about embracing sustainable fishing and more focused on disrupting the global market for shark fins.

“The big market is not within the U.S.,” said Andrew Rosenberg, the interim director of the Center for Ocean Leadership, which manages and facilitates ocean research and education programs under the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. “But when we go into international organizations we have to be able to say we’ve gotten our house in order, and we want other countries to do the same.”

The new law effectively ends the United States’ participation in the global shark fin trade, making it illegal to possess, buy, sell or transport shark fins or any product containing shark fins, except for certain dogfish fins.

Source : nbcnews.com/ For more details

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