House: Stop Shark Finning

When swordfish and tuna fishermen inadvertently catch sharks, they sometimes keep the shark fins and throw the rest of the carcass back into the ocean.

The fins are valuable as a delicacy in Asian soup.

Environmentalists and federal lawmakers have criticized the practice as inhumane, wasteful and unsportsmanlike. Critics of finning argue that sharks should be released.

The House agreed Monday to urge an end to shark finning.

Finning has been banned in U.S. waters in the Atlantic Ocean since 1993. But the practice continues in the Pacific around Hawaii and U.S. territories because

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, a federal regulatory agency, recently agreed to limit the number of sharks killed to 50,000 a year because of complaints about finning. About 60,000 were killed last year by a fleet of 110 commercial ships.
The House approved the resolution by voice vote. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who also said he would sponsor a bill to outlaw the practice.

Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J. who heads the House Resources subcommittee that considered the resolution, called the resolution "a shot across the bow" of the fishery council.

The resolution now moves to the Senate.