US ‘JAWS Act’ introduced to halt foreign aid to countries that allow shark finning

Press Release

Blake Farenthold
United States Congressman, 27th District of Texas

19. August 2014

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U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold introduces H.R.5308, the Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks (JAWS) Act to halt foreign aid to countries that allow shark finning

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold (TX-27) introduced H.R. 5308, the Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks (JAWS) Act on July 31, 2014 to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The JAWS Act prohibits the granting of United States foreign assistance to countries that do not prohibit shark finning in the territorial waters of the country or the sale, possession, importation, or consumption of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

Currently, shark finning is banned or regulated in an increasing number of countries including, Israel, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Honduras, Egypt, Guam, and French Polynesia. Most recently, the UAE introduced regulations on abusive fishing practices that are threatening the survival of some shark species.

This reprehensible practice causes sharks to die a slow painful death, typically at the bottom of the sea. An estimate from the Library of Congress shows that ninety-three countries have not regulated the abhorred practice of shark finning.

In addition to the inhumane implications of shark finning, there are several other concerns raised by these activities. Shark finning can be very lucrative in places where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy causing shark populations to decrease substantially to meet the demand.

The international community has responded to growing conservation concerns over the practice of shark finning. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly strengthened language in the Sustainable Fisheries Resolution by urging countries to consider a shark finning ban. Other international agreements suggest that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The United States needs to be a leader in the effort to eradicate shark finning permanently. The JAWS Act is an important step to show the international community where the United States stands on this issue and encourage other nations to follow suit.

Source: U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold

Full Text of Bill H.R.5308

113th CONGRESS
2D SESSION

H. R. 5308

To prohibit foreign assistance to countries that do not prohibit shark finning in the territorial waters of the country or the importation, sale, possession, or consumption of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 31, 2014

Mr. Farenthold introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

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A BILL

To prohibit foreign assistance to countries that do not prohibit shark finning in the territorial waters of the country or the importation, sale, possession, or consumption of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks Act” or “JAWS Act”.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT PROHIBIT SHARK FINNING IN THE TERRITORIAL WATERS OF THE COUNTRY OR THE IMPORTATION, SALE, POSSESSION, OR CONSUMPTION OF SHARK FINS OBTAINED AS A RESULT OF SHARK FINNING.

(a) In general.—No funds available to any Federal department or agency may be used to provide assistance to a country if the President determines that the country does not prohibit the following:

(1) Shark finning in the territorial waters of the country.

(2) The importation, sale, possession, or consumption of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

(b) Definition.—In this section, the term “shark finning” has the meaning given the term in section 9 of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act (16 U.S.C. 1822 note).

(c) Effective date.—This Act takes effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and applies with respect to funds available to a Federal department or agency beginning on or after the date that is 90 days after such date of enactment.

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2 Comments

  1. Kirsten Grish

    YES YES YES THANK YOU!!!

Reply to Kirsten Grish comment