Congressman Michael McCaul

Representing the 10th District of Texas

McCaul, Sablan Introduce Bill Banning Shark Fin Sales in the United States

Jan 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), the Republican Leader of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the former Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, joined Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP) to introduce the Shark Fins Sales Elimination Act.

This legislation will ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. The act of shark finning – cutting off the fin of a shark and then discarding the maimed animal, often still alive, back to sea – is illegal in the United States. However, these wrongly obtained fins are still imported and exported on American soil, which serves to legitimize the unethical trade chiefly responsible for sharks’ declining populations. This bill will put an end to shark fin trading in the United States, helping to sustain healthy populations of sharks worldwide.

Congressman McCaul: I am proud to help introduce the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which builds upon existing federal law and state initiatives to ban the sale, purchase, or possession of shark fins in the United States. The gruesome shark-finning practices are decimating populations and putting many species on the brink of extinction. This sound bipartisan legislation will promote conservation and responsible fishing practices that are good for the environment and our economy.

“As the largest economy in the world, how we conduct our commerce has a profound impact on global markets and greatly influences others’ economic behavior. It is long since time we leverage our economic might against shark-finning and work to counter the larger issue of animal poaching and the illicit trafficking of animal parts.

Congressman Sablan: The strong, bipartisan support for this legislation sends a clear message that we have to pay more attention to protecting the Earth’s oceans and the life within those oceans. Banning the sale of shark fins to help end this wasteful and cruel practice is important, but just a small step on the way to giving the oceans the full respect they must have in federal law. Ultimately, all life on Earth depends on the health of the oceans.

The following organizations spoke out in support of this legislation:

Oceana: Banning the U.S. shark fin trade has overwhelming support from the conservation, business and coastal recreation industries, and is a critical step for shark conservation. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act would improve enforcement of state fin bans and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation. This bipartisan legislation is a sensible, non-partisan way for the U.S. to lead in shark conservation. A national fin ban is something that both sides of the aisle can agree is good for our oceans, and good for the tourism jobs and businesses that depend on healthy shark populations. We commend Congressmen McCaul and Sablan for their bipartisan leadership in re-introducing this legislation that will set a new standard for shark conservation.”  – Whitney Webber, Campaign Director for Oceana

Humane Society: As many as 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, a leading factor in the alarming decline of shark populations. Sharks are worth more alive than in a bowl of soup. And although the U.S. bans the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning in U.S. waters, our shark fin economy spurs finning elsewhere. I applaud Congressmen McCaul and Sablan for introducing the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which enables America to expand its leadership in shark protection.” – Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund

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