Huffman: NOAA Backs Down In Dispute Over California Shark Fin Law

February 05, 2014

WASHINGTON­—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), who has led the Congressional effort to protect California’s landmark law banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins, applauded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) decision to revise a proposed rule that would have potentially undermined state bans on shark finning. In July, Huffman led 61 Members of Congress in sending a letter to NOAA opposing the administration’s misguided implementation of 2010’s Shark Conservation Act.

“I’m pleased that NOAA has decided not to interfere with the progress California and other states have made in ending the cruel practice of shark finning,” Congressman Huffman said. “Federal preemption of state law should be extremely rare —the federal government should not stop states from raising the bar on environmental protection, and I’m glad NOAA has agreed to revise its position on our state’s landmark shark fin law.”

Shark finning is a major contributor to the accelerating decline in global shark populations. Experts estimate that between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed every year to supply the global demand for shark fins. As a state legislator, Huffman was the co-author, along with Assemblymember Paul Fong, of a landmark bill that bans the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in California. California is one of 11 states and territories with laws that would be undermined by the proposed federal rule.