"Congress chose to prohibit shark fins at sea, not to impose a universal prohibition on the possession or sale of shark fins after they are landed," Connie Barclay, a NOAA spokeswoman, told the Guardian.
Shark advocates say that the federal government's move is interfering with efforts to curb demand for shark products. Under the state bans, demand decreased by two thirds.
"The proposed regulation is actually setting conservation back," Angelo Villagomez, a shark expert at the Pew Environmental Trust told the Guardian. "The federal regulation would overturn the state and territorial shark fin bans. The states that banned the sale of shark fin soup would now have to allow the sale of shark fin soup Dominique Cano-Stocco, campaigner for Oceana, said that the only way to stop the demand is to keep the meat and fins off the market in the first place.
"Oceana is concerned that by challenging the state shark fin ban NOAA is halting the progress we have made in the US," said Cano-Stocco. "The U.S. has been a leader on this, so it just doesn't make sense, what NOAA did."