It’s not too often you hear politicians using words or phrases such as cruel practice, excruciating death, unnecessary and inhumane when it comes to sharks; however, this week they passed through the lips of several, assemblymen, senators and commissioners when New Jersey took a stance against shark finning.
Governor Phil Murphy signed bill S2905 into law, which will prohibit the sale, trade, distribution, or offering for sale of shark fins, as well as the possession of any shark fin that is separated from a shark that is caught and released. The purpose of the law is to prevent the practice known to many as shark finning. The highly cruel practice of separating shark fins from sharks and releasing them back into the water.
“Shark fins are often obtained in a very inhumane manner that causes much suffering to the animal,” stated Governor Murphy. “I am proud to sign this law that will prevent the catch and release of sharks for the purpose of cutting off their fins.”
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe concurs, “Shark finning is unnecessary and inhumane. I am pleased that we can come together as a state to protect New Jersey’s sharks as part of our ongoing efforts to protect all of our natural resources. Cutting the fins of sharks and then dumping them back in the water is a death sentence for the shark, needlessly wastes our precious resources and impacts New Jersey’s delicate coastal ecosystem.”
The new law not only bans the sale, trade, distribution, or the offering for sale of any shark fin but further disallows the possession of any shark fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing unless the shark fins have been obtained for scientific or education purposes.
Primary sponsors of the legislation Senator Troy Singleton and assemblymen, Raj Mukherji, John Armato, and Vincent Mazzeo exhibited knowledge and deep understanding of the shark depopulation crisis in our world while commenting on the signing of the bill.
Troy Singleton, senator and sponsor of the bill stated, “I will continue to advocate for animals, whether they are a part of our marine life or domesticated in our homes, to ensure that they are not abused or needlessly harmed.”
“Shark finning is an inhumane practice that leads to the animal’s slow, excruciating death,” said Mukherji. “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.”
“The shark fin trade leads to the death of millions of sharks annually and has a devastating impact on the ocean’s ecosystem,” said Armato. “This new law is about ensuring that New Jersey has no participation in a market, the output of which promotes the destruction of the world’s ecosystem.”
“The bottom line is that the shark fin trade is unsustainable,” said Mazzeo. “Sharks play an invaluable role in maintaining marine ecosystems, and New Jersey must take a stand against finning in order to preserve them.”
The State of New Jersey now becomes the 14th state to take this action. With the 30 coastal states we have, it’s yet another step in the right direction. Now it is time for the federal government to pass legislation to take the United States completely out of the shark fin trade. We need to focus attention on the state of the world environment and become leaders in protecting the most important animal in the ocean’s ecosystem.
The law will take effect on January 1, 2021. It is important to Sharkbytes, as with many other nonprofits aimed at aiding in ensuring a healthy environment, that more bills are passed before this newly enacted law goes into effect.
Thank you New Jersey!