Shark Finning; the barbaric practice of trawling the Oceans for sharks, then removing their fins to sell them at at high price for shark fin soup.
Shark fin soup is a delicacy in China and is served as a status symbol of wealth and power! In the following news snippet we see a positive step towards banning the practice of harvesting sharks for their fins all together?
News Source: The Dispatch
Commercial fishermen in Worcester County were dealt another tough blow late yesterday when the State Senate approved a bill aimed at prohibiting the possession or distribution of shark fins, a by-product of the shark-fishing industry out of the West Ocean City harbor.
Earlier during the current General Assembly session, a dozen Maryland senators introduced a bill that would ban the possession or distribution of shark fins in an effort to curb the practice of shark-finning, or the cutting off of a shark’s fin at sea while the fish is still alive and discarding the creature to perish in the ocean. Shark fins are considered a delicacy in many Asian countries as the key ingredient, obviously, in the popular shark fin soup.
The legislation introduced in the General Assembly earlier this year and passed by the Senate on third reader yesterday, prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of shark fins in Maryland. A cross-filed bill on the House side has not yet come up for a vote. While few would argue with the intent of the legislation, many in the state’s commercial and recreational fisheries warn the bill as written will have the unintended side effect of harming legitimate, conservation-minded anglers.
Shark fishing is a staple of the commercial industry operating out of the West Ocean City harbor and thousands upon thousands of pounds of shark meat are brought into the harbor each year for the sale and distribution of the meat. Naturally, the shark fins are often sold as a bi-product of that industry carried out by fully licensed and legitimate commercial anglers heavily scrutinized under state and federal regulations.
Shark-finning is already illegal in the U.S., but legitimate commercial fishermen are allowed to sell the fins of the sharks they harvest for their meat. The bill approved by the Senate yesterday changes that and further hampers a legitimate commercial fishery in West Ocean City.