Guam -Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz and Senator Rory Respicio have introduced a measure to ban the possession and sale of shark fins and ray parts.
Bill # 44’s statement of “Findings and Intent” states that “It is the responsibility of the Government of Guam to protect and preserve Guam’s limited natural resources.”
The measure argues that sharks are an important role in our ecosystem, and that they are currently endangered and it states that “Upon discovery that a resource is in serious jeopardy, it is necessary that our government enact local measure to stop activities that contribute to the endangerment of our resources.”
The measure calls for criminal penalties including a $1,000 fine and imprisonment of up to 6 months for the first offense; a $3,000 fine and imprisonment of 1 year for the second and subsequent offenses.”
A release from the Vice-Speaker’s Office is printed below:
Vice Speaker Cruz introduces local Shark Finning Ban Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz and Senator Rory Respicio introduced Bill No.
44-31 (COR) to prohibit the trading and selling of shark fins and ray parts.
Vice Speaker Cruz said, “Every year commercial fishing kills over 100 million sharks worldwide – including tens of millions for just their fins. Sharks and rays are especially vulnerable to overfishing because they are slow growing and have few young. Shark finning is brutal and wasteful fishing because less than 5% of the weight of the shark is removed with the rest dumped overboard to bleed to death. Despite the increasing popularity of shark fin soup, the shark fin is made of cartilage and offers no flavor to the soup. It only adds texture and it may pose a health hazard due to mercury content.”
Senator Respicio, Chairperson of the Committee on Human & Natural Resources adds, “Federal legislation has also been enacted to protect these marine resources.
The Shark Conservation Act, requires US fishing vessels to land sharks whole thereby preventing illegal importation and transshipping of fins.” Bill No. 44-31 (COR) makes local enforcement possible if this bill becomes law. Local fisherman will not be harmed by this legislation because federal law already prohibits importing shark fins. “In effect, Bill No. 44-31 (COR) curbs the shark fin industry by prohibiting the product,” states Senator Cruz.