For Immediate Release
Contact David McGuire 415.350.3790 [email protected]
Chicago May 14, 2014
Today the Illinois Legislature made history in the mid west helping add momentum to shark protection. Joining Hawaii, California, Washington and Oregon, the State Legislature passed a bill to ban the possession and sale of shark fins. The bill, HB4119, passed the House and Senate by a large margin, and is being sent to the governor's desk. "This is a great victory for sharks," said David McGuire, Director of Shark Stewards and one of the original sponsors of the California law. "Shark Stewards established a chapter in Chicago to help our partners COARE, the Humane Society and other activists in protecting sharks from the international travesty that is shark finning." Although it is illegal to kill sharks for their fins in the United States, import records show a large amount of shark fins coming into the state and east coast. Reducing the demand for shark fins increases the expense of the shark fin trade and will deter illegal shark fining. Over one hundred shark species are threatened with extinction according to scientists. Tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins each year to support the luxury shark fin trade. “I am so excited to have helped sharks here in Chicago,” said Janet Thomas, chair of the of Shark Stewards’ Illinois Chapter. Thomas, a dive expedition leader and owner of 3rd Coast Cafe, is also a resident in Senator Muñoz’s district, one of the Bill's champions. To garner increased grassroots support to protect shark populations and support ocean health, Shark Stewards is presently creating a legislative toolkit to support volunteers for similar legislation in other states and abroad. "We are now assisting other ocean protection organizations and establishing beachheads in new states such as New Jersey, Maryland and Texas to continue the shark protection. We cant wait for scientists or government to make up its mind. This is an ocean crisis and we have to ban shark finning internationally and ban the shark fin trade before its too late." For more information and resources, visit http://sharkstewards.org.