Statement from Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, on the decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service that federal fisheries law does not preempt California’s ban on the shark fin trade.
Background: The Monterey Bay Aquarium was lead sponsor of AB 376 which bans the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California. The bill was signed into law in October 2011 by Gov. Jerry Brown and took full effect on July 1, 2013.
Julie Packard served on the Pew Oceans Commission, is vice-chair of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and was the 1998 recipient of the Audubon Medal for Conservation. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was named a California Coastal Hero in 2009 by the Coastal Commission and Sunset Magazine. She is a member of California’s Parks Forward Commission
Ken Peterson, 831-648-4922 or 831-238-3632; firstname.lastname@example.org
Karrie Carnes, 831-647-6856; email@example.com
MONTEREY, Calif. Feb. 5 – The Monterey Bay Aquarium welcomes news from the Obama Administration that the National Marine Fisheries Service has determined that California’s shark fin trade ban is consistent with federal fisheries law, and that the agency will not join in a lawsuit by shark fin traders who are challenging the California law.
The aquarium was proud to be a lead sponsor of the California law, along with Humane Society of the United States and Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, which is already having a significant impact on reducing market demand that fuels the disastrous global trade in shark fins. Passage of the ban in California in 2011 sparked similar efforts in other states.
International action to end the global shark fin trade is also on the rise. The Chinese government has banned shark fin dishes at all official banquets, and a growing popular movement opposed to consumption of shark fin products has significantly reduced demand for shark fins in China.
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins – an unsustainable practice that is decimating some of the ocean’s most magnificent animals and affecting overall ocean health. As apex predators, sharks help keep the ocean ecosystem in balance. Killing sharks at this rate, which is pushing an estimated one-third of open ocean shark species to the brink of extinction, puts the health of the world’s ocean ecosystem in jeopardy.
California has long been a leader in ocean conservation. It is gratifying that the federal government acknowledges the state’s thoughtful leadership by agreeing that our shark fin trade ban is valid and enforceable. We also applaud the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Attorney General Kamala Harris for their vigorous defense of the state’s law banning the trade in shark fins.