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New York passes historic legislation to protect sharks

by John Hocevar

September 16, 2013

Sharks and fish swim near a fish aggregating device, or FAD, in the international waters of the Pacific ocean. The Greenpeace ship 'MY Esperanza' is on a three month expedition to expose and stop destructive fishing practices, and to protect dwindling fish stocks

© Alex Hofford / Greenpeace

Shark in the Pacific Ocean

It’s not everyday the Governor of New York sends you a pen.

We were pretty stoked to receive a pen that Governor Andrew Cuomo used to sign into law the state’s ban on shark fin possession, sale, trade and distribution.

New York isone of the largest markets for shark fins outside Asia. This law passage marks the eighth by a US state in addition to three Pacific U.S territories in passing protection to sharks and therefore preserving the health of global ocean ecosystems.

“It is with great pleasure that I present you with a pen certificate commemoration the Governor’s approval of A 1711 B ,” wrote State Assembly Member Alan Maisel. “The success of our three-year campaign was the direct result of a collaborate effort between the legislature and the advocates, culminating with the Governor’s action. We could not have done it without the persistent and effective efforts of the coalition of animal welfare, environmental and conservation organizations.”

More than a dozen organizations worked together with lawmakers to pass this bipartisan bill.

Blue shark caught on a longline

Predators are irreplaceable in ecosystems, and sharks are no different in balancing the food chain and healthy operation of an ecosystem. Unfortunately, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks a year.

Several countries including New Zealand, Spain and the United States continue to kill and export sharks. In addition to the direct slaughter of sharks, these predators are often also caught as bycatch along with manta rays and sea turtles by tuna companies like Starkist and Chicken of the Sea.

New York’s historic ban is a big step in the right direction for ocean protection. We’re thrilled to be part of history.

John Hocevar

By John Hocevar

An accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine biologist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.

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