The state of Maryland is proposing new regulations that would, among other things, weaken the state ban on shark finning by allowing fishermen to remove the fins of smoothhound sharks at sea, as long as the ratio of the weight of the fins does not exceed 12% of the ratio of the carcasses. These “fin ratios” are already troubling and ineffective ways to enforce finning bans. Landing sharks with fins naturally attached is considered the best practice for shark fisheries management. A 12% ratio is exceptionally high (3.5-5% are common ratios worldwide) and risks enabling unscrupulous fishermen to remove the fins of not only smoothhound sharks, but other species whose fins could be passed off as such. This makes it harder for managers to track how many sharks of which species are being killed.
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources is taking public comments on this policy, which means that you can help!
Please send an e-mail to [email protected] by the end of the day on Monday, January 27th containing the following information:
Critical information (must be included)
- Subject line: Public comment about Regulations .02, .03, and .04 under COMAR 08.02.22
- I oppose the proposal to allow a fin-to-carcass ratio of 12% for smoothhound sharks
- Fin-to-carcass ratios are a problematic method for enforcing a finning ban that creates the opportunity for illegal finning to be undetected, and make it harder for managers to collect species-specific landing data.
- The higher the fin to carcass ratio, the greater the chances for undetected finning; a 12% ratio would be the highest in the world.
- The proposed policy risks finning of not only smoothhound sharks, but also many other shark species (some of which are prohibited) with similar looking fins.
- A complete ban on removal of shark fins at sea (a requirement that all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached) is considered the best practice by most U.S. scientists and fisheries managers.
- Please cancel the proposed exception for smoothhound sharks, and apply a fins naturally attached policy in Maryland while promoting the same within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Smoothhound sharks currently have no other protections in MD or Federal waters. It is imperative that the ban on finning them is properly and rigorously enforced.
Please send a public comment, please share this with interested colleagues, and please post a comment on the blog post to let me know that you’ve submitted a public comment!
What does the US need to hunt and kill sharks for their fins. The act alone is absolutely wrong and immoral. But who in the US eats shark fin soup! We as a nation need to set an example and stop killing these creatures and any other marine animals just for the shear sake . Our oceans are suffering! And it won’t be long before we can do nothing about the extinction and destruction of the oceans. I oppose shark finning and we greatly need stronger policies against it.
Comment sent. Thanks for doing this.
Sent and shared!
Email has been sent!
Just sent my email to them.
ugh – comment sent. thanks.
Done! Is there an actual link to the comment period?
done – thanks David!
Demostrado está que la explotación irracional de recursos naturales, lo cual incluye la fauna, trae graves consecuencias en todos los micro ecosistemas, daño que se extiende al macro ecosistema. Una de estas irracionales explotaciones es acerca de esta especie animal que tan difícilmente se reproduce aun en condiciones naturales. Exigimos a las autoridades vigilar estos recursos naturales difícilmente renovables, o no renovales si llegan a la extinción.
I am here by writing to those concerned to express my personal, and strongest opposition to the proposal to allow a fin-to-carcass ratio of 12% for smoothhound sharks.
I am expressing my opposition and abhorrent rejection of this proposal on the basis of the following points:
• Fin-to-carcass ratios are a problematic method for enforcing a finning ban that creates the opportunity for illegal finning to be undetected, and make it harder for managers to collect species-specific landing data.
• The higher the fin to carcass ratio, the greater the chances for undetected finning; a 12% ratio would be the highest in the world.
• The proposed policy risks finning of not only smoothhound sharks, but also many other shark species (some of which are prohibited) with similar looking fins.
• A complete ban on removal of shark fins at sea (a requirement that all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached) is considered the best practice by most U.S. scientists and fisheries managers.
• Please cancel the proposed exception for smoothhound sharks, and apply a fins naturally attached policy in Maryland while promoting the same within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
• Smoothhound sharks currently have no other protections in MD or Federal waters. It is imperative that the ban on finning them is properly and rigorously enforced.
Whilst I appreciate that I am not a US citizen nor do I reside in the US, the protection of all species from unnecessary and barbaric practices is a global issue. I cannot sit-back and remain silent whilst the destruction of top-predators, which has a proven knock on effect further down the ecological ladder, or for that matter any species, is brutally butchered.
I hope that my rejection of this proposal does not fall upon deaf ears, everyone has a duty to protect and preserve this planet for future generations, not our own selfish monetary gains.
Yours in fervent opposition
Dr. Robert H.C. Madden
MSci (Hons)(Dunelm) Ph.D. (Curtin) FGS
Sent and shared.
hello. I sent the comment off as requested!
Done, thank you!
What would you consider to be a valid ratio of fin weight to carcass weight?
I consider fin to carcass ratios to be a not very good means of enforcing finning bans, but the international average is about 3.5%. 12% would be among the highest in the world, and it isn’t based on any actual data.
Averages mean nothing, the average will vary from species to species. Why wouldn’t you conduct a study and figure out what a “reasonable” ratio would be? Forcing dogfish to be landed with fins attached is NOT a reasonable alternative, unless you are simply trying to shut down the fishery. I’m willing to take your word for the fact that 12% is not a reasonable number, but what is?
I have tried my best to send an email to the public comment, I hope they would really consider our thought. Very best of luck to us and the sharks.
Comment submitted! Thanks for bringing this into the public eye, David!
Comment sent, but you would get a better response if you made it less steps from most people.
I’m sorry, are you joking? How could the process possible be easier than e-mailing a provided e-mail address with a provided subject and provided content? I don’t see how this could possibly take more than a minute.
The issue isn’t torture. The issue us whether fishermen can use their down time (the ride back to the dock) to start processing the fish for consumption or whether all the processing activity has to take place on land.
Comment Sent. Very easy, thank you!
Can someone please explain to me why some humans feel they have a right to torture wildlife with actions like this? It is really like chopping off someone’s arms and legs and tossing them aside to slowly bleed to death. This behavior shows up with so many species in various ways. I am serious – please explain!
Comment sent , lets hope we can make a difference. I feel ashamed of the a portion of the human race and their intolerance to such a magnificent animal.
They are also eviscerated at the same time. Not much different than how almost all animals, and all fish are processed for food.
It is fine to be concerned with the efficient use of time, but consideration and respect has to be given to the creature who is providing a paycheck, don’t you think? It is definitely torture for the finned shark. There is more than one issue here. However, that really does not answer my question.
I sent my comment.
Thanks for bringing this to the public eye, so disgusting. This is an area that desperately needs strong legislation!
Comment sent off !
public comment submitted!
Sent and thank you for publicly sharing this!
Public comment submitted hope its not too late!