Two more states are joining the trend of conserving sea life; Illinois and North Carolina both passed legislature last week. Like many other states, Illinois now bans the possession and distribution of shark fins. Shark finning is already illegal in U.S. waters. However, possession of fins is still permitted in some states. Though most of the states that enforce the ban are coastal, the legislators in Illinois support the banning of this horrific activity. The bill passed through the House and Senate with a large margin.
One of the most economically and ecologically important fish found off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are menhaden. Not only do these fish provide excellent source of food for game fish such as striped bass and redfish, but menhaden are also great water-cleaning filter feeders. Unfortunately, this valuable fish has been caught in huge purse seine nets by industrial mother ships for decades. Luckily, as of May 11, this is no longer the case in North Carolina. In a close five-to-four vote, North Carolina’s Marine Fisheries Commission ended purse-seining practices from mother ships. This vote also saves striped bass, red drum, and all other by-catch species killed by the huge nets.
Hopefully, more states will begin to follow suit behind Illinois and North Carolina by taking a stand to preserve sea life. New Jersey’s legislature has already begun the conversation of banning shark finning in hopes of suppressing the shark-fin market and saving the sharks.
For more information on Illnois's ban click here.
For more information on North Carolina's vote click here.
Information on New Jersey's Legislature click here.