Buffalo legislator led push to make it illegal to
possess, sell or distribute shark fins in New
Senator Mark Grisanti (R, I-60) today applauded the signing of
legislation he sponsored in the Senate that makes it illegal to possess, sell or
distribute a shark fin in New York State.
chairman of the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee, Grisanti said he
was pleased to sponsor a bill that he says will help preserve an important
species of our ecosystem.
"With this new law now on the books, sharks will be able to live
in a stable environment in the ocean," Senator Grisanti said. "New York is doing
its part to help prevent the killing of sharks to supply the growing global
demand for their fins."
law, it is illegal to "fin" a shark in New York waters, a practice where a shark
is caught, its fin removed, and then returned to open waters. A finned shark,
unable to swim or pass water across its gills, eventually dies from suffocation
or blood loss. The fins are the main ingredient in shark fin soup, a traditional
The legislation draws attention to the growing global demand for
shark fins and helps to provide a fair balance between the market for this
ingredient and the need to protect sharks by allowing the sale of shark fins for
two specific species of dogfish, which is the most abundant shark species in the
North Atlantic Ocean. It also has an exception for shark fins that will be
earmarked and later used strictly for educational purposes.
There are 70 commercial fishers currently licensed to catch
dogfish, with daily catch limits of 3,000 pounds for each licensee. Dogfish are
mostly exported to England, where they are the preferred fish for the British
staple "fish and chips," while their fins are exported to Asia.New York joins other states which had previously prohibited the
sale of shark fins with exceptions related to dogfish, including California,
Illinois, Oregon and Washington.
"Shark finning has decimated the shark population worldwide,"
Senator Grisanti said. "I am proud that New York is now joining other states in
taking a stand against this practice by banning the possession, sale and trade
of shark fins. The new law will have a major impact on this cruel industry by
removing New York, which is currently a major East Coast importer, from the
shark fin trade."
Grisanti previously sponsored legislation two years ago to ban
the sale of bear gallbladders, which are used for medicinal purposes in some