Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/sharkstewards.org/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-popups-lite/src/includes/class-rules.php on line 1070

Press Release: Federal shark bill included in the National Defense Authorization Act

For Immediate Distribution

Contact David McGuire 



December 13, 2022


Today President Biden signed into law H.R. 7776, the “James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023,” which authorizes fiscal year 2023 appropriations for Department of Defense programs and military construction, Department of Energy national security programs, and Intelligence programs. It also includes legislation that will protect sharks, whales and coral reefs in US waters.

The bill was reintroduced and passed through the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act by an overwhelming majority on December 8, 2022. On Thursday, December 15, the Senate passed the NDAA with the Shark Fin Bill included in the massive spending bill.

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act will prohibit the sale, purchase, and possession of shark fins in the United States. This would remove America from the global shark fin trade and help restore healthy ocean habitats and shark populations. Thanks to the Senate and House sponsors and to President Biden for helping ban the sale and trade of shark fin in the USA.

“The USA facilitates the global decline of sharks through consumption and import/export of unsustainably harvested shark fins. This law sets an example to China and the rest of the world by demonstrating that sharks are important to ocean health, and not as a luxury item that leads to overfishing these predators.”

David McGuire, Director Shark Stewards

The law follows 12 years of campaigning to protect sharks from overfishing and the unsustainable shark fin trade, starting with the California Shark Fin Trade Ban first introduced in 2009 by Bay Area non-profit Shark Stewards, and sponsored by Assemblypersons J. Huffman (D. San Rafael, 2nd District US Congress) and Paul Fong (D. Cupertino).

This movement to regulate shark fin in the USA follows 14 US states and bans the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins, with some exceptions.] The intent of the law is to reduce overfishing sharks and discourage shark finning, a practice which involves cutting off the tails and fins of living sharks, which are then discarded to die.

The primary use of shark fin is in shark fin soup, a luxury delicacy consumed on special occasions like weddings and banquets in China and elsewhere around the world. Because of a huge increase in demand and the high value placed on the fins, the trade has led to a global decline in shark populations.

A 2021 study in the journal Nature determined that 71% of all sharks and rays have been fished out of the oceans. The USA joins Canada and the United Kingdom to ban the entire sale and trade of shark fins in national territories. This November, Shark Stewards worked to add additional international protections under the Convention to list over 90 species of sharks and rays, protecting them from the shark fin trade.

Shark Stewards is a non profit project of The Earth Island Institute, based in Berkeley California.