Congressman Blake Farenthold introduces H.R.5308, the Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks (JAWS) Act to halt foreign aid to countries that allow shark finning

A few weeks ago, I introduced H.R. 5308, the Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks (JAWS) Act. The JAWS Act prohibits the granting of United States foreign assistance to countries that do not prohibit shark finning in the territorial waters of the country or the sale, possession, importation, or consumption of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

Currently, shark finning is banned or regulated in an increasing number of countries including, Israel, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Honduras, Egypt, Guam, and French Polynesia. Most recently, the UAE introduced regulations on abusive fishing practices that are threatening the survival of some shark species.

This reprehensible practice causes sharks to die a slow painful death, typically at the bottom of the sea. An estimate from the Library of Congress shows that ninety-three countries have not regulated the abhorred practice of shark finning.

In addition to the inhumane implications of shark finning, there are several other concerns raised by these activities. Shark finning can be very lucrative in places where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy causing shark populations to decrease substantially to meet the demand.

The international community has responded to growing conservation concerns over the practice of shark finning. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly strengthened language in the Sustainable Fisheries Resolution by urging countries to consider a shark finning ban. Other international agreements suggest that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The United States needs to be a leader in the effort to eradicate shark finning permanently. The JAWS Act is an important step to show the international community where the United States stands on this issue and encourage other nations to follow suit.


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