New Jersey set to be 13th state to ban shark fin trade as bill awaits governor's signature

The Assembly passed the bill with overwhelming votes on Monday and it is now headed to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for his signature.


                            New Jersey set to be 13th state to ban shark fin trade as bill awaits governor's signature

After Florida, New Jersey lawmakers are mobilizing to ban the sale and trade of shark fins. The Assembly passed bill A4845 with overwhelming votes on Monday and it is now headed to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for his signature. If New Jersey's Governor does sign the bill, it will make the state the 13th in the country to impose the ban.   

Conservationists have welcomed the move. "This critical law will ensure that the ecologically wasteful and cruel trade will be prohibited within New Jersey’s borders. We are so grateful to the bill’s prime sponsor, Raj Mukherji, and the other Assembly co-sponsors Vincent Mazzeo, John Armato, Carol Murphy, and Mila Jasey, for their support to remove New Jersey from the global trade in shark fins,” said Brian R Hackett, New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States in a statement to MEA WorldWide. 

Shark fins are a delicacy in Asian cuisine and are most famously served in a shark fin soup. Sharks are killed for these fins and conservationists have expressed concerns that this rampant killing has resulted in their dwindling numbers over the years. Traditionally, sharks had their fins cut off from their bodies while they were alive before being thrown into the waters.

Right now, US laws allow "land sharks whole/fins attached" on their land leaving the species-wide open as illegal targets in the sea and to be finned after they've landed. Enforcement remains complicated and beyond the capacity of most agencies and with the species of shark impossible to trace — so enforcement agencies can't tell the difference between fins that were harvested legally or illegally, or if the fins are from an endangered species, say experts.

“Shark finning is an inhumane practice that leads to the animal’s slow, excruciating death,” Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, (Democrat-Hudson), one of the sponsors, said in a statement. “Aside from being downright cruel, shark finning is threatening the very existence of certain species, which ultimately poses a threat to the balance of all marine life," he said.

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