Over the past few months, WildAid has been hard at work promoting, advocating, and lobbying for California’s AB 376, a proposed bill that would outlaw the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins within the state’s borders. In May, the bill passed the California Assembly by a vote of 60 to 8, and just recently passed the California Senate’s Natural Resources Committee with a vote of 5 to 0, with two abstentions. In the coming months, the bill will head to the Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the Senate Floor and, if passed, on to the Governor’s desk.
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.