WASHINGTON -- Fishermen kill some 60,000 Pacific sharks every year, tossing their carcasses or dying bodies back into the sea, to satisfy a voracious human appetite for shark's fin soup.
The House on Tuesday moved to stop that practice, voting 390-1 to ban shark finning in all U.S. federal waters extending 200 miles from American shorelines. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was the lone no vote.
''As an avid sportsman,'' said Rep. Randy ''Duke'' Cunningham, R-Calif., the chief sponsor, ''I find this practice horrific and wasteful.''
The measure, which still needs Senate consideration, is aimed at Hawaiian longline fishing boats engaged in the lucrative practice of harvesting fins for sale in Asian nations where shark's fin soup is a delicacy. The fins of blue shark that are a by-catch of tuna fishing are sliced off and the dead or dying fish, which are of little other commercial value, are then dumped overboard.
Shark finning has been banned in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico since 1993, when the Commerce secretary, responding to evidence of serious shark overfishing in those waters, set rules for highly migratory fish such as swordfish and shark.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.