The shark populations of the world have a new hero in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has signed legislation that will end the N.Y. shark fin trade and protect sharks and oceans worldwide. When the new law goes into effect on July 1, 2014, New York will join seven other states (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Oregon and Washington) and all three Pacific U.S. territories in the fight for shark protection.
The new New York law will ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins with violations warranting up to 15 days of jail time and a fine of $100 per fin.
The trading of shark fins, which are considered a Chinese delicacy and status symbol, has been hugely harmful not only to shark populations, but to worldwide ocean ecosystems. The Save Our Seas Foundation estimates that an average of 38 million sharks are killed for their fins each year. And this number becomes even more shocking and inhumane by the fact that fishermen often catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw the crippled animals back into the sea to die.
The new legislation will have an immense impact on the global shark fin trade because New York currently holds one of the largest markets for shark fins outside of Asia. The state’s ports are also the top entry point for fins on the east coast.
The executive director of WildAid, Peter Knights, celebrated the new law saying: “New York is the last major market for shark fin in the US to close and this encourages China, which has banned shark fin from state banquets, to take further action to reduce demand for shark fin. Finally some respite for beleaguered shark populations.” He, and activists worldwide, join together to applaud the N.Y. Governor and his commitment to end this brutal trade.
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