Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman Join Call to Ban Sale of Shark Fins in U.S.
On June 23, Oceana, along with four members of congress, introduced the Shark Fin Elimination Act of 2016 (S.3095/H.R.5584), beginning the call to action. The bill would ban the sale of shark fins in America. The act of shark finning—cutting a shark's fins off and discarding its body at sea where it could drown, bleed to death or be eaten alive—is already illegal in U.S. waters.
The bill was introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Camacho Sablan (I-MP). DiCaprio isn't the only celebrity to back their fin ban call. Morgan Freeman also joined the cause.
"While shark finning is banned in U.S. waters, we continue to buy, sell and trade shark fins throughout the country. By allowing the trade of shark fins within our borders, the U.S. continues to contribute to this global problem. The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would not only get the U.S. out of the shark fin trade business, but it would also reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation."
Five of the 11 countries that export fins to the U.S. do not have shark finning bans, according to an Oceana report. It is very likely that those products come from sharks that have been finned.
It is hard to track how many shark fins are exported from and imported to the U.S. because of labeling rules. The U.S. requires shark fins to be labeled as such only if they are dried, Oceana said. Therefore, if shark fins are fresh, frozen, on ice or processed in another way, they do not have to be labeled.
Discrepancies in reports between the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.S.'s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) show just how complex the labeling problem is. Oceana's report explains the complexity of the issue:
According to the FAO, other countries reported exporting 1,012 metric tons of shark fins to the United States in 2007. However, that same year, the NOAA only reported 28.8 metric tons of shark fin imports. Similar discrepancies appear in U.S.-reported exports. In 2011, NOAA reported 38 metric tons of shark fin exports from the United States, yet according to the FAO, other countries reported importing 295 metric tons of shark fins from the United States.
"Right now, it is impossible to know if a shark fin in the United States is a product of finning," Lora Synder, campaign director at Oceana, said. "A national fin ban would remove that uncertainty and shut down the U.S. as a market for shark fins. It would also reinforce the status of the United States as a global leader in shark conservation. There's no place for shark fins in the United States."
Fins from 73 million sharks end up in the shark fin trade annually, Oceana reported.
"Shark finning, which leaves these animals to die a slow and painful death at the bottom of the ocean, is a cruel practice that needs to be stopped," Rep. Royce said. "When the United States leads, others follow. We should set an example by eliminating the shark fin trade rather than providing a market to incentivize this illicit activity."
Earlier this year, the U.S. banned nearly all commercial elephant ivory trade in the country. The new rules, which take effect July 6, limit the import of sport-hunted trophies to two per hunter and prohibit the sale of ivory that was part of a move or inheritance.
Watch Oceana's #FinBanNow video below:
The Poison Papers: Secret Concerns of Industry and Regulators on the Hazards of Pesticides and Other Chemicals
The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy released a trove of rediscovered and newly digitized chemical industry and regulatory agency documents Wednesday stretching back to the 1920s. The documents are available here.
Together, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press. These papers will transform our understanding of the hazards posed by certain chemicals on the market and the fraudulence of some of the regulatory processes relied upon to protect human health and the environment.
I'm a huge Trevor Hall fan so when I saw he was playing in my hometown of Cleveland, I was stoked. I knew seeing the show would be fantastic, but I was also thinking an interview with Trevor would be something really cool to give EcoWatch readers. So, lucky enough, I was offered an interview and was able to hop on my paddleboard from Whiskey Island on the shore of Lake Erie, head up the Cuyahoga River and get to the Music Box Supper Club just in time to chat with Trevor before the show.
"My dad was a drummer, so most my musical influence comes from my dad," Trevor said during our nearly hour interview. "Growing up, my dad had this CD collection in the hallway and I was always fascinated by all the CDs. My hobby was pulling out a CD that looked cool and I'd put it on the stereo and pretend I was rocking out. My dad was really into The Doobie Brothers, Allman Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, Simply Red, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young."
American Electric Power (AEP) will invest $4.5 billion in a wind energy project in Oklahoma that could become the largest wind farm in the U.S., the utility announced Wednesday.
AEP will develop a 350-mile transmission line for the 2 GW farm.
The sun is rising on a newer, cleaner era of American energy use.
The U.S. generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind than it did in 2007—enough to power more than 25 million homes—and the average American uses 10 percent less energy than he or she did 10 years ago, according to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center.
The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, also cites a 20-fold increase in battery storage of electricity and the meteoric rise in sales of electric cars—from virtually none in 2007 to nearly 160,000 last year—as evidence that despite attempted rollbacks in Washington, a clean energy revolution is under way across the U.S.
By Tim Radford
Geoengineering, the deliberate alteration of the planet to undo its inadvertent alteration by humans over the past 200 years, is back on the scientific agenda, with a climate compromise suggested as a possible solution.
One group wants to turn down the global thermostat and reverse the global warming trend set in train by greenhouse gases released by fossil fuel combustion, by thinning the almost invisible cirrus clouds that trap radiation and keep the planet warm.
By Joe McCarthy
This past June was the third hottest June in recorded history—only 2016 and 2015 had hotter Junes.
The global average temperature has been surpassing the 20th century average for 41 straight years. "Record-breaking temperatures" has almost become a platitude since the turn of the century, yet the consequences of this shift are devastating communities and environments in new ways around the world.
By Joe McCarthy
Tony Maphosa, a Zimbabwean poacher, is accused of putting cyanide in watering holes and salt pans used by elephants numerous times over several years.
All told, his poisoning spree is said to have killed more than 100 elephants, according to Zimbabwean authorities who have been searching for Maphosa for four years.
By David Doniger
As the nation and the world swelter through another year of extraordinary heat, storms, drought and disrupted weather, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz introduced carbon fee legislation Wednesday to help curb the heat-trapping pollution that drives this dangerous climate disruption.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer and David Cicilline are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.