Shark lovers can finally breathe a sigh of relief - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has finally finished their assessment of the nine current state shark fin trade bans throughout the country and have concluded that all of them can remain standing. Last year, NOAA challenged these bans, suggesting that federal fisheries law might overrule the state laws that groups worked tirelessly to establish. Oceana fought back against these actions, and after months of public campaigning, including letters of opposition from more than 24,000 Wavemakers, the federal government has finally relented. Hawaii, the first to enact a state-based ban on the possession and trade of shark fins, was the last to receive approval on Mar. 9.
NOAA's decision to recognize state shark fin trade bans is critical. By stopping the possession and sale of shark fins in US states, we help reduce the global demand for fins, the driving force behind the cruel and unsustainable practice of shark finning. It is estimated that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, to supply demand for the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup.