Shark Advocacy Groups Announce Support for Shark Finning Bill
Senator Daylin Leach
Representing the 17th Senatorial District
17. September 2013
HARRISBURG, September 17, 2013 – State Sens. Richard Alloway (R-Adams/Franklin/York) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today thanked Fin Free Pennsylvania and Shark Angels for their support of Senate Bill 340, which would ban the sale and possession of shark fins in the Commonwealth.
“I am thrilled to receive the endorsement of these two upstanding organizations for Senate Bill 340, and hope that their support will help this important legislation finally become law,” Leach said. “Sharks are an integral part of the food chain and a majestic addition to marine wildlife, and they deserve our respect and protection. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will act with haste in passing this bill.”
Leach and Alloway teamed up to introduce S.B. 340, which would close the loophole allowing the sale and possession of shark fins despite the illegality of shark finning.
“I am pleased to see that our bipartisan effort to prevent shark finning is receiving national attention,” Alloway said. “This is a dangerous and barbaric practice, and banning the sale or possession of shark fins in Pennsylvania is the best way we can protect ocean ecosystems.”
Shark finning is the process by which poachers catch sharks in huge numbers, remove their fins, and then dump their bodies back into the ocean. Though the sharks are still alive, they are unable to swim without their fins and, ultimately, they suffocate, starve to death or are killed by another animal. Most times, the fins are bought and used by restaurants to make shark fin soup. It is estimated that shark populations along the Atlantic coast of the United States have decreased by 90 percent from their historic levels and shark finning is to blame.
Tyler Kruszewski, State Coordinator of Fin Free Pennsylvania said, “Sharks keep the coral reefs alive, which produce 60 percent of the world’s oxygen and sustain the entire ocean ecosystem. Every single shark population is in serious danger of extinction if the shark fin trade is not stopped. The only way to stop this illegal, inhumane practice is to ban the sale and distribution of shark fins state by state. As sponsors of the bill to ban shark fins in Pennsylvania, Senators Alloway and Leach are instrumental to this legislative movement in hopes of saving the planet for future generations.”
Shark Angels Director Jamie Pollack added, “Sharks need our protection now more than ever. We are thrilled to support Fin Free Pennsylvania and this new piece of legislation, which would ban the sale and possession of shark fins in Pennsylvania. We applaud those efforts made by Senators Leach and Alloway for introducing Senate Bill 340. We hope that one day we can say all 50 U.S. states are fin free. And with all of us working together I think that is possible. As for now, one state at a time.”
An estimated 73 million sharks are harvested annually for their fins, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Shark Specialist Group said, “The rapidly expanding and largely unregulated shark fin trade represents one of the most serious threats to shark populations worldwide.”
Humane Society International added, “Finning is not only inhumane; it allows sharks to be caught in unsustainable numbers. Apex predators, sharks play an essential role in marine ecosystems. Shark finning endangers their survival—and that of the species that rely on them.”
SB 340 currently awaits consideration by the Appropriations Committee.