With passage of Bill 44, the US Territory of Guam has now become the third place in the Pacific that has taken a definite stand against shark finning, the trade of fins and shark fin soup.
June 2010 marked the legislative breakthrough effort of the Hawaii shark fin bill. In January 2011 the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands followed and now Guam has joined them by passing Senate bill 44-31.
The bill was introduced this January, by Vice Speaker Benjamin F. Cruz and Senator Rory Respicio. Public hearings brought out record attendance by supporters, including the high school students of Simon Sanchez and George Washington High School. The students expressed concern over the wasteful practices of the commercial fishing industry and the resulting problems that their generation will have to face. With each passing year of ignoring the depletion of the ocean, a sustainable future for their generation becomes less likely.
The kids not only attended hearings, they also staged many public outreach efforts around Guam, including a symbolic shark fin burial at a historic overlook, and several days of waving signs next to the road to raise support for the bill.
State laws that prohibit possession of fins complement the Federal Shark Conservation Act, by banning the trade of fins and the product that drives the industry – Shark Fin Soup.
"Shark fin trade is an ecological disaster that can only be prevented by reducing demand for shark fin. We applaud Guam for this measure," said WildAid Executive Director, Peter Knights.
WildAid: WildAid's mission is to end illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. We do this through global multimedia public awareness, field conservation programs and enforcement of marine protected areas. Our communications campaigns feature Asian and Western athletes, musicians, actors, celebrities and prominent individuals reaching audiences of 1 billion in China and over 700 million in India. We leverage over $100 million in pro-bono media from 50+ media companies to reach consumers via television, cable, internet, mobile devices, magazines, outdoor billboards, LCD screens and monitors in government buildings, shopping centers, banks, university cafeterias, trains, subways, taxis, metro rails, airplanes, hospitals and airports.
We also have a field conservation program in India and enforce marine protected areas in Raja Ampat (Daram Marine Reserve), Indonesia and Galapagos Islands (Galapagos Marine Reserve), Ecuador. We are currently primarily focused on demand reduction for sharks, tigers, elephants, rhinos, bears, sea turtles and coral. To learn more go to www.wildaid.org. Extensive Footage of shark finning, fin trade and preparing shark fin and stills available.