Biden to make shark finning illegal in the US

Bipartisan act outlaws domestic shark fin trade that has pushed hundreds of species on to the endangered list

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Shark fin soup will soon be unavailable in the US, once President Joe Biden signs this year's national defence bill, which includes a provision that would outlaw shark finning.

“Congress has taken shark fins off the menu,” Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Centre for a Humane Economy, said in a statement on Friday.

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act is a part of the National Defence Authorisation Act, or NDAA, that Congress fully passed on Thursday and which is currently on its way to Mr Biden's desk for a final signature.

Shark fins are used in the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup as well as in traditional Asian medicine.

The bill was a bipartisan effort, with three Republicans and one Democrat introducing the bill. It was supported by 300 co-sponsors.

“Shark finning conjures up cruelty and wanton destruction of the medieval era,” Mr Pacelle said.

“But it’s more of a modern evil and the United States has determined this trade is no longer legal in our nation.”

A study published in Nature in 2021 found that the global shark population has declined 71 per cent since 1970.

“It’s a great day for sharks,” Oceana vice president for the US Beth Lowell said in a statement.

Colombian authorities confiscated a shipment of 3,493 shark fins which were to be illegally trafficked to Hong Kong. Reuters

“The worldwide demand for shark fins is driving many shark populations towards extinction, with the fins from up to 73 million sharks ending up in the global fin trade every year.”

A shark's fins are often removed while the animal is still alive. It is then tossed back into the ocean, where the rudderless fish is unable to swim, leading to a slow death as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and suffocates.

Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. The dish is associated with wealth and prosperity, and is often served on special occasions such as weddings or the Lunar New Year. The shark fin itself is tasteless.

Updated: December 16, 2022, 8:58 PM