At Wild Ocean we understand the importance of sustainability and proper usage of the fishery because it is our livelihood. We need fisheries that are able to healthfully replenish themselves so we can keep harvesting and selling good, quality food to the consumer. One of the pieces of legislation that we are following is about shark conservation. We believe sharks are an important part of our ecosystem and also a great food resource. Aside from falling under the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act sharks are highly protected. H.R. 788 makes the most sense of the two bills that have been introduced into the house. FWC breaks down the difference between the two bills and gives a concise argument for H.R. 788. Please read the following.

 

” Shark Conservation H.R. 788 and H.R. 737

Background:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is adamantly opposed to the practice of shark finning and Florida was among the first U.S. states to ban finning: 

  • Shark finning has been prohibited in Florida since 1992 and all U.S. waters since 2000.

Current Federal/State Shark regulation:

The Florida/U.S. shark fishery is heavily and sustainably managed.

  • NOAA Highly Migratory Species Division prohibits all harvest of 19 species shark from federal waters of the Atlantic. Florida prohibits all harvest of an additional 7 shark species as well as spotted eagle rays and all manta ray species.
  • A complex system of interdependent federal quotas ensures that harvestable species with the highest conservation needs receive adequate regulatory protections.
  • Fishermen are subject to a daily limit of 1 shark of any species from Florida’s state waters of 45 large coastal sharks from federal waters.

Rebounding U.S. Shark Populations:

  • Research indicates shark populations are rebuilding in the U.S. Atlantic.
  • Florida fishermen indicate that increasing shark abundance is having a substantial negative impact on other recreational and commercial fisheries.

 

H.R. 788- the Sustainable Shark Fisheries Trade Act

H.R. 788 would require the United States to certify that those countries or businesses wishing to import shark fins and shark meat have conservation laws in place that are comparable to U.S. laws. FWC is pleased to support H.R. 788.

  • Globally, shark and ray populations continue to suffer from unsustainable fishing practices, with depletion particularly prevalent in the Indo-Pacific and Mediterranean Sea.
  • The U.S. is a global leader in shark management, with management measures already in place to end overfishing where it occurs and rebuild or maintain stocks.
  • H.R. 788 would contribute to international shark conservation while allowing U.S. fishermen to sell their sustainably harvested shark products.

H.R. 737 – the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act

H.R. 737 would prohibit the sales, trade, and possessions of shark fins. While commercial fishermen could harvest sharks, they would be required to remove and discard the fins, and only sell the remaining shark products. FWC is concerned that H.R. 737 penalizes American fishermen who participate in sustainable shark fisheries while having very little conservation impact on unethical, unsustainable international fisheries.

  • The United States only harvests about 3.7% of the total worldwide shark landings.
  • The United States imports less than 1% of all internationally traded shark fins.
  • Preventing the use of the entire carcass of a legally-harvested shark is wasteful. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) encourages full use of dead sharks.
  • 119 permitted commercial shark fishermen in Florida– more than half of all permitted shark fishers on the U.S. Atlantic coast (including the Gulf of Mexico).”