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Illinois is the first non-Pacific state to join California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the growing national movement to protect sharks. Although Illinois is far from the ocean, it is a large importer of shark fins that are used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. This market for fins creates an incentive for the practice of shark finning, slicing off a shark’s fins at sea and throwing the body back overboard.
“Illinois set a great example,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. “Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice that has extremely destructive consequences for shark populations. We hope other states will follow in their footsteps.”
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, leading some populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades as a result of this practice.
While shark finning is illegal in the U.S., there are no federal laws that address the trade of shark fins. In fact, many shark fins are imported into the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.
“We can encourage shark conservation by reducing the demand for these products,” said Lowell.
Oceana applauds Gov. Quinn, Sen. Antonio Munez (D-Chicago) and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) for their leadership in helping to protect sharks and ocean ecosystems.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to protect sharks, click here.