July 5, 2016 (Saving Seafood) — WASHINGTON — In a letter to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today, Blue Water Fishermen’s Association (BWFA) Executive Director Terri Lei Beideman expressed opposition to the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, which is currently pending before the U.S. Senate.
“[BWFA opposes] this bill because it will increase legislative discards of shark fins in those shark species which are sustainably harvested, and will continue to be sustainably harvested in accordance with U.S. law,” Beideman wrote. “Unlike what some would lead one to believe, not all shark species are in jeopardy; many species have healthy stocks from which a reasonable, sustainable harvest is permitted.”
The U.S. has led the way in shark conservation for decades, but by eliminating responsibly harvested shark fins from U.S. commerce, the proposed legislation could increase the practice of illegal finning in foreign nations to meet international market demand, Beideman wrote. It could also lead to a new type of wasteful shark finning in the U.S.
“With this new type of finning, instead of shark fins being retained at sea and the shark meat being discarded, as was prohibited in 1993, the meat will be retained and fins discarded upon landing,” Beideman wrote. “These fins will end up in dumpsters along our Nation’s coastlines.”