Endangered Species of Sharks
Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:46 AM
Thank you for writing me to share your thoughts about the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
CITES has been ratified by 167 nations, including the United States, and regulates the international trade in animals and plants that may be threatened by trade. Started in 1975, this Convention currently regulates the trade of approximately 28,000 species of plants and 5,000 species of animals. As you may know, the United States joined Colombia in proposing international trade measures for the oceanic whitetip shark under the CITES Appendix II in the 2013 Conference of the Parties. Under an Appendix II listing, trade must be regulated closely in order to avoid exploitation of the listed species, such as southern elephant seals and pygmy elephants. The Convention will vote on the proposal to include white tip sharks in March 2013.
Like you, I am concerned about the protection of sharks, and I understand your concerns about oceanic whitetipsharks. You may be interested to know that with the passage of AB 376 and AB 853 in October 2011, the California State Legislature banned the possession and sale of shark fins. These laws will go into effect on July 1, 2013.
During the 111th Congress, I was a cosponsor of the "Shark Conservation Act of 2009" (S. 850), which would have amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act to prohibit the acts of removing any shark fin at sea or transporting a fin unless it was naturally attached to the shark carcass. It also would have directed the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to track nations which have not adopted shark conservation plans similar to the United States and whose fishing fleets target sharks. Unfortunately, S. 850 was not considered by the Senate before the 111th Congress adjourned.
Please know that I am supportive of efforts to protect vulnerable shark species and will be sure to keep your comments in mind as I perform my duties as United States Senator.
United States Senator
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