Selling Shark Fins Is Now Considered A Crime In 11 States Across America

Humans are said to kill over 100 million sharks each year (or around 11,000 per hour) – and while some are culled to protect our beaches, most are butchered for their fins.

But across America, more and more states are implementing bans that aim to tackle the shark fin trade in a bid to curb the bloodshed and restore sinking shark populations.

Some sharks are loaded into fisheries while others are left to die in the ocean (Photograph: Tre’ Packard via Pangea Seed)

Some sharks are loaded into fisheries while others are left to die in the ocean (Photo: Tre’ Packard via Pangea Seed)

Rhode Island is the latest US state to ban the sale of shark fins across its coastline.

Selling or owning shark fins in the Ocean State is now considered a crime, and those who ignore these new laws (which came into effect on January 1) will be hit with excessive fines or even jail time.

Those with commercial fishing permits could also run the risk of having their licenses revoked.

Shark fin soup is considered a "delicacy" in many Asia countries (Photograph: Johannes Eisele)

Shark fin soup is considered a "delicacy" in many Asian countries (Photo: Johannes Eisele)

While there isn't much of a market for shark fin in Rhode Island, activists insist the law will help raise awareness around the brutal nature of shark finning and the ecological damage it has on our oceans.

“We thank the members of the legislature for their unwavering efforts to stand up for sharks," The Humane Society wrote back in June (when Gov. Gina Raimondo proposed the new regulation).

“The passage of this measure ensures that the Ocean State is now part of the solution to help end the global shark fin trade and the cruel practice of shark finning worldwide.”

Shark finning is a practice which entails cutting off a shark's fin before throwing it back into the ocean, where it can take days to die from an agonizing death.

Soup made from these fins is popular in Chinese cuisine but over the years shark fin soup has made its way onto a vast number of menus across America.

Rhode Island will be the 11th state to ban shark fin sales. Similar laws are also in place in California, New York, Washington and Texas. Hawaii became the first to ban the shark fin trade in 2010.

Read more -> The Good Stuff: 14 Positive Environment Stories From 2016

Writer and photographer from South London, UK. If you want to get in touch please email me at: matthew.kirby@konbini.com