Shark Conservation ActThe Ocean Conservancy is asking for your help in stopping the wasteful and inhumane practice of shark finning — slicing off a shark’s valuable fins for soup and tossing the shark back into the sea to suffer a slow death.

The Ocean Conservancy is asking you to urge your senators to pass the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 right now.

The bill, which already passed in the House of Representatives last March, is needed to end the practice of shark finning in US waters and to step up shark conservation efforts in other countries. The US passed a national finning ban in 2000, but the practice continues and is still legal in many other nations. The demand for the fins, which can sell for up to hundreds of dollars per pound, remains high for shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy.

The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 closes loopholes in the US finning ban and can revitalize shark conservation efforts on a global scale. It must be passed without further delay.

A growing number of shark populations are in peril from overfishing and unsustainable finning — we must do better. Prohibiting the removal of shark fins at sea takes the guesswork out of determining if sharks were finned and greatly improves the ability of experts to accurately record the shark species taken. This bill can end the waste of these vulnerable animals and will contribute to our knowledge of shark population health and conservation needs.

Shark fins are in demand for the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup and they therefore fetch a high price, which serves as an incentive to the shark fishing industry to catch sharks only for their fins. This is outrageous considering that the fins are solely consumed to display status – the fins themselves are relatively tasteless and do not provide a useful source of protein.

Shark finning was banned in US waters in the Atlantic Ocean in 1993. In 2000, the practice was legally prohibited in all US waters. Though there has been much progress in the battle against finning in recent years, the practice still occurs legally in most fishing nations. The demand for fins continues to rise. Without limits, shark populations worldwide will continue to be decimated. Take advantage of the Ocean Conservancy’s action alert today and let your senators know this issue is important to you and that you want the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 passed.