Massachusetts to enact shark fin ban

The fin of a shark breaks the surface near the 'Miracla' beach, 20 August 2007, in Tarragona city. Biologists of the Barcelona Aquarium have un successfully tried to capture the animal, a Mediterranean grey nurse shark, which is considered as harmless for humans, usually feeding on fish. AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
The fin of a shark breaks the surface near the ‘Miracla’ beach, 20 August 2007, in Tarragona city. Biologists of the Barcelona Aquarium have un successfully tried to capture the animal, a Mediterranean grey nurse shark, which is considered as harmless for humans, usually feeding on fish. AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

A shark fin ban will go into effect in Massachusetts on Thursday, closing an economic loophole that has led to a massive decline in shark populations.

Governor Deval Patrick will be joined by a coalition of ocean protection and animal welfare organizations at the New England Aquarium to sign the ban into law, making it illegal to possess or sell shark fins in the Bay State.

“With the passing of this law Massachusetts builds upon its long history of animal protection and environmental stewardship,” said  Patrick. “I congratulate the passionate animal welfare and ocean conservation leaders who worked together to ensure the conservation of sharks and our oceans for generations to come.”

The bill, also known as, “An act relative to ocean ecology and shark protection,” passed the Massachusetts House and Senate with bipartisan support last week, making Massachusetts the ninth state along with Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to restrict market access to the shark fin trade.

Shark “finning” refers to the slicing off of a shark’s fins, often while the shark is still alive.

The animal is then thrown back into the ocean where, unable to swim, the shark dies a slow and painful death. Advocates say the demand for shark fins, used to make shark fin soup, a bowl of which can cost upwards of $100, drives the unsustainable exploitation of sharks worldwide.

The practice of shark finning is prohibited by both federal and state law, but the market for fins continues to promote the practice in foreign and international waters.

A broad coalition of ocean conservation and animal welfare advocates, including the MSPCA-Angell, New England Aquarium, The Humane Society of the United States, Fin Free Massachusetts and others, worked tirelessly to establish the ban, under the stewardship of lead sponsor Senator Jason Lewis, and with support from Representative David Nangle and nine-year-old shark advocate Sean Lesniak of Lowell.

“Today marks an historic milestone in the fight to preserve the health of our oceans,” said Lewis. “I commend my colleagues at the State House for voting to protect sharks and take a stand against animal cruelty. I extend my gratitude to the animal welfare organizations and ocean conservation groups who collaborated on this effort.”

Nigella Hillgarth, President & CEO of the New England Aquarium, lauded state lawmakers for their leadership.

Massachusetts’ shark protection efforts build upon the momentum of the Obama administration’s recent commitment to combating black market fishing and preventing illegally caught fish from entering the U.S. marketplace, according to Hillgarth.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…