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18 May 2012 - Shark Advocates Join New York Citys Margaret Chin to Rally for State Legislation to Protect Sharks and Oceans      

Shark Advocates Join New York CityCouncil Member Margaret Chin to Rally for State Legislation to Protect Sharks and Oceans

18 May 2012

 

NEW YORK (May 17, 2012) – A coalition of animal welfare, environmental and conservation organizationsjoined City Council Member Margaret Chin, D-Lower Manhattan and other city and state legislators for a rally on City Hall steps to announce her resolution in support of the state legislation to end New
York’s contribution to the dire collapse of shark populations worldwide.

Resolution 1311 calls upon the New York legislature to enact and the Governor to sign
A.7707a/S.6431, which would prohibit the possession, sale, offer for sale, trade, or distribution of
shark fins. If enacted, New York will join four Pacific states – California, Hawaii, Oregon and
Washington – and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands in similar actions to
provide critical protection to sharks and preserve the health of the world’s ocean ecosystems. The
bipartisan state legislation has the broad sponsorship support of 58 legislators and is championed by
Assembly Members Alan Maisel, D-Brooklyn, Grace Meng, D-Flushing, and Linda Rosenthal, DManhattan
and Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo.

"I am proud to sponsor this resolution in support of a ban on the sale and distribution of shark fins,"
said Council Member Margaret Chin, D- Lower Manhattan. "As we all know, in our country the
main consumers of shark fin are Asian American communities. Shark fin soup may be a time honored
tradition for a small group of people but it has no place in today's society. Let's call this trade what it
is: illicit, inhumane and unnecessary. I stand here today to say that I will not support an industry that
thrives off cruelty."

"We must to put an end to the shark fin trade before it is too late," said Council Member Daniel
Dromm, D-Queens. "The practice is both cruel and reckless, and the effects on our ecosystem have
been devastating. We cannot continue to allow people to make large profits at the expense of
endangering our marine life. I commend Council Member Margaret Chin for her leadership in drawing
attention to this pressing issue and I urge my colleagues in government to support this resolution."

“It is my great pleasure to join with Councilwoman Chin at today’s rally to announce her resolution
supporting the legislation that Senator Mark Grisanti and I have introduced,” said Assemblymember
Alan Maisel, D-Brooklyn. “We must once and for all stop all activities associated with the barbaric
practice of shark finning and make New York State a leader in the protection of threatened species
that are an important element of our marine ecosystem.”

“Shark finning’ is an irresponsible practice that kills millions of sharks every year. Unless we act now,
global shark populations will be greatly affected for many years to come, said Assemblywoman
Grace Meng, D-Flushing. “As a legislator I will continue to support legislation and efforts that will
protect sharks and the overall health of oceanic ecosystems.”

“New York must not be complicit in the practice of shark finning, which has led to the extinction of
shark populations around the world and wreaks havoc on our entire oceanic system,” said
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, D-Manhattan. “By adopting this bill, which I am proud to cosponsor,

New York will join other states, including the entire West Coast, in banning the possession
and sale of shark fins. New York will no longer be a refuge for those looking to make a profit from the
illicit trade of shark fins.”

Statements from each participating organization are included below:

Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “New
York should not be a haven for the cruel, wasteful and unsustainable trade in shark fin. The Empire
State has long taken action to protect other threatened and endangered species such as tigers,
elephants and bears, now it’s time we start protecting sharks and stop contributing to this cruelty and
help end the inhumane and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning worldwide.”

Amanda Keledjian, a marine scientist for Oceana said: “Eating shark fin soup is driving an
unsustainable and cruel demand for the slaughter of our sharks. These incredible animals are critical
to maintaining balance within our oceans, and their depletion puts jobs and coastal health at
risk. These finning bans are an important first step in promoting shark conservation and raising
awareness about the many threats these creatures face.”

Iris Ho, wildlife campaigns manager of Humane Society International, said: “Tens of millions of
sharks are killed every year to meet global demand for shark fins. Many have their fins sliced off and
are then tossed back into the ocean to suffer a painful death. We applaud the humane leadership of
Council Member Margaret Chin for championing this historic effort to end cruelty and protect shark
populations and ocean ecosystems.”

Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, said: “These are ecosystems that have evolved over
millions and millions of years. As soon as you start to take out an important part of it, it's like a brick
wall, you take out bricks and eventually it's going to collapse.”

Sarah Chasis, oceans initiative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
“Worldwide, shark populations are in steep decline, threatening a cascade of devastation down the
ocean food chain. We know that shark-finning is a significant cause of this decline and we know how
to stop it. New York’s shark legislation will eliminate our state's contribution to the demand that drives
the practice of finning.”

Alejandra Goyenechea, international counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, said: “Finning is decimating
the world's shark populations at an alarming rate and now New York has a chance to join the
worldwide movement dedicated to halting this practice and ensuring this species' survival. This is truly
an example of 'Think globally, act locally'."

Michael Skoletsky, executive director of Shark Savers, said: “Sharks are critically important to a
healthy marine environment and divers like me have grown to appreciate sharks as being intelligent
and graceful animals. New York should not participate in the deadly shark fin trade that is primarily
responsible for devastating shark populations throughout the world.”

Tracy Coppola, program associate for Born Free USA, said: “Born Free USA strongly believes that
one cannot effectively protect sharks without eliminating the market for shark fins. Sharks face many
threats in today’s oceans, but the practice of ‘shark finning’ is by far the cruelest of all. It is time for
New York to speak out against this unspeakably cruel practice.”

Christopher Chin, executive director of The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and
Education, said: “Sharks are vital for healthy ocean ecosystems, but their populations have declined
dramatically the last few decades as a result of human greed and lack of understanding. Animals at
the top of the food chain, such as sharks, have few natural predators, so they are slow to mature and
have very few young. As a result, they are extremely sensitive to fishing pressures, and are slow to
recover from overfishing.”

Marie Levine, executive director of the Shark Research Institute, said: “Much of the shark fin trade
uses fins hacked off living sharks. If we found dogs and horses with their legs severed, bleeding and
dying, the public outrage would be deafening. The difference is that finning takes place at sea, out of
sight. Because the trade is largely unregulated and unmonitored, and finning often takes place
beyond national and state jurisdiction, the most effective method to bring an end to this brutal practice
is through legislation such as this.”

Facts:

The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.

Conservation enforcement and finning bans in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve
sharks. A ban on shark fin products, such as A.7707a/S.6431 proposes, is the most effective
way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.

Shark fin is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as
a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar
international shark fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which
shark fins are harvested and the precarious status of many shark populations.

In 2011, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.


 





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