ACTION: Help pass the Maryland shark fin bill

Posted on March 29, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: I’m FINished with FINS Kampagne 

Maryland S.B. 465 was introduced by Senator Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery and it passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 42 to 4 on March 22.

When passed into law, it will prohibit a person from possessing, selling, offering for sale, for trade, or distribution, a shark or other elasmobranch fin. There are exemptions for possessing fins under certain circumstances, but those fins may not be sold.

In the Maryland House of Delegates, similar legislation, H.B. 393, was introduced by Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery. The Senate Bill will now move to the House, first to be considered by the House Environmental Matters Committee in a hearing on Wednesday, April 4. Then, it needs to pass the House before Maryland General Assembly adjourns on April 9.

That only gives us a few days to build support in the House. Here's what to do:

Maryland residents: Call or email your Delegate. Urge them to support HB 393/SB 465 to ban the shark fin trade.

If you are not a Maryland resident, it won't be necessary to call a delegate).

  1. Find your Delegate
  2. Find your Delegate's contact information
  3. Understand and speak to the issue

Calls to your legislators will probably not require much discussion. But, it's good to know why you're calling!

Maryland should ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.

  • Every year, tens of millions of sharks are killed with their fins used to make shark fin soup.
  • The value of the fins is much greater than the meat. The demand for the fins is the primary driver behind the high level of slaughter.
  • Current federal laws prohibit shark finning, but do nothing to address the issue of the shark fin trade in the state.
  • The global trade in shark fins is highly unregulated and can include fins from finned sharks and overfished stocks. Shark fins sold in Maryland can and do come from a multitude of countries that have weak or no shark finning regulations or shark fishing management.
  • One of the fastest and most effective ways to protect sharks is to eliminate the market for their fins.
  • A similar ban has already been enacted on the entire U.S. West Coast - California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii, in addition to U.S. territories Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Maryland should join them and no longer permit the unsustainable trade in shark fins.
  • Similar legislation is pending in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, has been introduced in Virginia and may be introduced soon in other East Coast states.

Thank you for taking action and speaking out for sharks!