U.S. House passes act to protect sharks

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(Matthew D Potenski/The Pew Charitable Trusts via AP)

WASHINGTON D.C. (KXAN) — The U.S. House passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act on Wednesday that will prohibit the import, export, possession, trade, and distribution of shark fins or products containing shark fins.

The act was led by Reps. Gregorio Sablan and Michael McCaul. It passed by a margin of 310 to 107.

Senators Cory Booker and Shelly Moore Capito also introduced a companion bill that has already been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Today, Congress struck down animal cruelty by voting in favor of the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act,” McCaul said. “The survival of these majestic creatures is of great importance and this bill will help ensure they are around for decades to come. I am proud to work alongside colleagues who have taken a stand against this atrocity today.” 

Around 73 million sharks are killed for their fins around the world annually.

Shark finning and possession of shark fins is prohibited, but the previous law, the 2010 Shark Conservation Act, did not stop the domestic trade of those parts.

“We shouldn’t kill elephants for their ivory, rhinos for their horns, or sharks for their fins,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action. “It is wasteful and barbaric, it imperils species and ecosystem health, and it degrades marine-based ecotourism and shark-diving experiences throughout the world.”

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