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Rubio, Colleagues Reintroduce Bill to Promote U.S. Shark Conservation as a Global Model of Sustainability

Apr 28, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act, legislation that recognizes the sustainable and economically valuable fishing practices of U.S. shark fishermen and promotes U.S. standards for shark conservation and humane harvest abroad. The bill was first introduced by Rubio in April 2018 and was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in May 2018. 
“Sharks play an important role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems and also benefit coastal economies via fishing, trade, and tourism,” Rubio said. “U.S. shark populations are growing as a result of years of sustainable management under our shark conservation and humane harvesting standards. This legislation would extend these successful standards to our global trade partners, helping to protect international shark populations and preserving the livelihoods of commercial fishermen in Florida, and other coastal states, who continue to fish in accordance with strong federal and state fisheries management laws.”
“Louisiana shark fishermen should not have to compete against those doing it illegally. This legislation protects these businesses,” Cassidy said.  
“In Florida, we know how important holding bad actors accountable is to responsible fisheries management and protecting Florida’s wildlife,” Scott said. “The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act will help to address the global problem of shark finning and protect Florida’s commercial fishermen who abide by current state and federal laws.”
“Conserving our fish and wildlife populations for future generations of fishermen and hunters is so important, and I’m proud to support Senator Rubio’s bill that supports the sustainable and humane management of shark populations and promotes U.S. standards for shark conservation to our trading partners,” Braun said. 
Specifically, the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act would:

  • Create a shark conservation and trade fairness certification for nations wishing to import shark products to the U.S.;
  • Prohibit the importation of shark products originating from any nation without a certification, and the possession of such products in the U.S. with limited exceptions for law enforcement, subsistence harvest, education, conservation, or scientific research;
  • Update the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act to reflect the U.S. commitment to promote international agreements that encourage the adoption of shark conservation and management measures and measures to prevent shark finning that are consistent with the International Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks;
  • Direct the Secretary of Commerce to include rays and skates into the seafood traceability program to ensure that shark products are not smuggled into the U.S. falsely labeled as rays and skates, two closely related groups.