CHICAGO (July 2, 2012) – Governor Quinn has signed a bill that makes Illinois the first inland state to prohibit trade in shark fins. Though the nearest ocean is nearly a thousand miles away, Illinois had been one of the largest markets for shark fins in the US and joins California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in an effort to lower demand for shark fins, the main ingredient in soup considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. That demand kills off tens of millions of sharks annually, many of which are simply tossed back into the ocean where they drown because sharks are unable to swim without fins.
Nick Magrisso was NRDC’s lead advocate on the issue in Springfield, helping to guide a coalition of groups advancing HB 4119 that included the Center for Oceanic Awareness Research and Education (COARE) and the Humane Society. Following is reaction from Magrisso:
"Sure, Illinois is a landlocked state. But that doesn't mean we can't do our part to help throttle down the demand that is quickly killing our oceans by eliminating a species necessary to keep balance. The rule of the land can have a big impact on the health of the seas.
"Just as people all over the country, far from the Great Lakes are concerned about the threat of Asian carp and other invasive species to our fresh water seas, we need to be concerned about the inhumane and biologically dangerous practice of shark finning as a threat to the health of our oceans."
- Magrisso has blogged extensively on the shark fin ban from Springfield: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/nmagrisso/
- Text of the bill, which was ushered through by Sen. Antonio Munoz and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz can be found at: http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=4119&GAID=11&GA=97&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=63402&SessionID=84