Shark fin was banned in California on July 1st, but a new regulation being considered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could nullify the ban in California and other parts of the U.S.
The proposed rule would implement provisions of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, which would allow fisherman to sell shark carcasses with the fins naturally attached. While the act addresses the landing (harvesting) and possession of shark and shark fins at sea, it does not address the trade of processed fins within the United States.
Congressman Jared Huffman of California is urging the agency to revise the proposed rule, stating that the legislation could undermine state bans on shark fins. Huffman's letter was cosigned by 61 members of Congress.
Experts estimate that between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed every year to supply the global demand for shark fins.
"Shark populations around the world are in serious decline, and this is no time to undermine the progress that California and other states are making in preventing the destructive practice of shark finning," Huffman said in a statement. "The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but unsustainable and incredibly wasteful."