Small Shark Victory

Thisis long overdue.  There is nothingsustainable about the present shark fin fishery.  The fish itself is not short lived orparticularly rapid in reproduction.  Thusit is easy to quickly deplete stocks.

Ontop of that the flesh requires special handling if one wants to use it.  Otherwise it becomes quickly tainted withurine taste.  Removing the skin is no joyeither.  All this means is that thecutting out of fins is usually the only real value to fishermen.  The rest is chucked.

Againwe begin another small step toward managing the marine environmentproperly.  I fear we will not do it rightuntil every fisherman is driven out of business by their own greed as happenedon the Grand Banks.  That has not recovered.

Victory for sharks: U.S.bans shark finning
By John Platt   Dec 22, 2010

It won't get the same pressas the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but the U.S. made an important conservationleap this week by banning the deadly practice of shark finning.
The Shark Conservation Act,passed Tuesday, bans the controversial yet lucrative fishing practice ofcatching sharks, cutting off their fins and dumping the still-living creaturesback into the water where they slowly and painfully drown.
Shark fins are highly prized for their usein shark fin soup. Many shark populations aroundthe world have dropped 90 percent or more as a result of rampant overfishing.
The U.S. actually banned shark finning in theAtlantic and Gulf of Mexico in 2000, butloopholes in that law allowed the practice to continue in the Pacific. The newlaw requires fishing vessels to retain the entire shark carcass while at sea, ameasure that will help authorities track the number of sharks that are caughtand which vessels come from nations that have more lax shark conservationrules. It also forbids any vessel in U.S. waters from carrying sharkfins unless they remain attached to the shark's body. 
"We've finally realized that sharks areworth more alive than dead," Oceana's ElizabethGriffin Wilsonsaid in a prepared statement after the act passedthe Senate on Monday. "While shark fins and other shark products arevaluable, the role sharks play in the marine ecosystem is priceless. The U.S.has helped set a high standard for other countries and international managementorganizations to follow."

The act was a long time coming. It was first introduced onJanuary 6, 2009, and passed a vote in the House of Representatives on March 2of that year. It was delayed in the Senate this year when Sen. Tom Coburn(R-Okla.) demanded that the $5 million bill pay for itself, a feat accomplishedthrough cuts in the federal fisheries grant program. It was finally voted on bythe Senate Monday, then again by the House on Tuesday. It now awaits PresidentObama's signature.

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