The Shark Conservation Act Could Make Shark Fishing Easier

Written by on June 19, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law, Sharks

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently proposed changes to the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 that would completely ban the practice of shark finning while at the same could actually lessen protection for sharks.

Shark finning.

Shark finning. Photo credit: Oceana/LX.

The problem is with some of the language about ‘preemption’ which would allow the federal government to actually overturn state laws regarding shark finning. There are ten states that have laws prohibiting the possession, distribution and trade of shark fins and many of these state laws are much more restrictive than the federal law. In essence, it could allow shark fishing in states where the practice has already been banned.

So why add this language under the Shark Conservation Act? Because despite having some of the best conservation laws, the U.S. is still a participant in the shark fin trade and this would open up more areas to shark fishing.

For a great summary of the situation, listen to this interview on ABC Radio Australia with Angelo Villagomez, a shark conservation expert with the Pew Charitable Trusts.

NOAA is currently collecting comments on the proposed rule before making a decision. If you’re interested in submitting your thoughts on the issue, you can do so through by clicking here or by using a form letter from the Pew Charitable Trusts or Oceana. The comment period is open until July 8.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Sue Hacker says:

    This borders idiotic! All shark fining should be outlawed worldwide. Why be so quick to destroy the natural order of aquatic life?

  2. Emily says:

    Hopefully enough people feel the way you do and will work together to get the wording of the proposed regulations changed!