June 28, 2013
TO: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce
RE: NOAA-NMFS-2012-0092 Comments
These comments are submitted on behalf of WildAid, a registered US 501c3 charitable organization, its Board of Directors, and our members. WildAid focuses on addressing consumer demand for products from threatened wildlife, and has been working since 2000 to drive decreased consumption of shark fins.
We supported the passage of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and support measures to implement this law. However, we do not agree with some of the language NMFS has included in the proposed law to implement the SCA measures. Specifically, we strongly object to and ask that NMFS remove the following clause from the proposed rule:
Under “Section 600.1201 Relation to other laws”, we urge NMFS to remove:
(d) State and territorial statutes that address shark fins are preempted if they are inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act as amended by the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, regulations under this part, and applicable federal fishery management plans and regulations.
The state and territory shark fin statutes address shark fin demand and trade within these states and territories, and were passed with overwhelming bi-partisan and public support. These laws complement the Shark Conservation Act and facilitate enforcement of its provisions.
The state laws have been instrumental in our work overseas as well. They have provided models for other countries to adopt similar legislation and drive down shark fin consumption in some of the hubs of the global trade.
We’re astonished that NMFS would interpret the intent of Congress in passing a bill titled, the “Shark Conservation Act”, as requiring states to facilitate the trade in shark fins, in direct opposition to the overwhelming will of the public and legislatures in these states and territories.
Thank you for considering our input.
With best regards,
Peter Knights, Executive Director