Taiwan announced plans on Sunday to require fishermen to keep shark catches fully in tact until they arrive in port, a measure meant to prevent finning at sea. Taiwan, where an estimated 4 million sharks are killed annually, will become the first Asian country to implement such a regulation when it takes effect early next year.
James Sha, Director of Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency, told reporters, “Any violators may be fined, barred from leaving ports, have their catches confiscated or even have their fishing boat licenses revoked.”
In its August issue, Vanity Fair features a sixteen-page article entitled, “Agony and Ivory,” which depicts the extreme brutality and danger of the ever-growing Ivory Trade and its devastating impact on our world’s elephants. Long-time and highly acclaimed elephant conservationist, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, mentions WildAid’s vital work in the public awareness sector through partnerships with celebrity ambassadors such as Jackie Chan and Yao Ming.
The global movement against the shark fin trade gains momentum with Chile, the Bahamas and Fiji all introducing legislation this week that would reduce the trade.
Not only is the declining shark population potentially devastating to marine ecosystems, but also certain nations are realizing the economic value of sharks as a tourist draw. According to the Pew Environmental Group, tourism brings in USD$80 million annually in the Bahamas, with each reef shark estimated to be worth about USD$250,000.
Yesterday the California Senate’s Natural Resources Committee voted 5-0 (with two abstentions) to support AB 376, outlawing the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California with a strong proviso that some type of amendment be incorporated to allow the possibility of some shark fin from “sustainable” sources.
Leonardo DiCaprio and a long list of prominent celebrities including athlete Yao Ming, actors Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox and pop star Ke$ha have written a joint letter to members of the California State Senate supporting Assembly Bill 376, which would ban the sale of shark fins in California.