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 Illinois Shark Fin Ban (HB 4119) Press Release . . .

(you may download this press release as a PDF document.)

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
15 May 2012



      ILLINOIS SENATE TAKES HISTORIC STEPS TO PROTECT SHARKS

  Environmental and animal welfare groups applaud passage of House Bill 4119 


Springfield, Illinois – 15 May 2012 -- The Center for
Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), 
The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society
International, and Natural Resources Defense Council
(NRDC) applaud the Illinois State Senate for passing a
new bill to end Illinois' contribution to the dire
collapse of shark populations worldwide.  If enacted,
Illinois will join four Pacific states – California,
Hawaii, Oregon and Washington – and the U.S. territories
of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands in similar actions
to provide critical protection to sharks and preserve
the health of the world's ocean ecosystems by banning
the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark
fins.

House Bill 4119, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz
(D-Chicago) and Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago),
passed the House of Representatives on March 8 with a 
vote of 81-33.  The bill today passed the Senate with 
a vote of 41-13, and now moves on to the governor for 
action.

"I'm pleased that the Illinois Senate has echoed the
House of Representatives' support of this important
bill," said Rep. Feigenholtz, who introduced the bill in
January.  "The Senate's incredibly decisive vote
reflects the urgency of the need for shark
conservation."

"I'm delighted that Illinois can take part in the
worldwide movement to protect these important
creatures," said Senator Antonio Muñoz, the bill's
Senate sponsor.  "We're grateful for organizations like
COARE, The Humane Society, and NRDC, which have done a
wonderful job educating legislators, constituents, and
stakeholders alike."

"The unsustainable demand for shark fins has had a
devastating impact on shark populations worldwide, and
the legislature's action makes clear that Illinois will no
longer contribute to the cruelty," said Kristen
Strawbridge, Illinois state director for The HSUS.  "We
hope Governor Quinn will quickly sign this bill into law
and make Illinois the first Midwestern state to join the
international movement to protect sharks by shutting
down the market for shark fins."

"This is a bold, but very necessary and natural step,"
said Christopher Chin, COARE's executive director.
"Sharks have shaped ocean ecosystems for more than 400
million years, but we've pushed many of them to the
brink of extinction just in our lifetimes.  This new law
reflects the importance of our ocean's fragile resources
to everyone, including those thousands of miles from the
shore."

"Illinois is nowhere near a coast, but this step from
the General Assembly means we are doing our part to
ensure healthy oceans.  Now it's time for the coastal
states to step up so we are all working in concert to
end shark finning across the country and abroad," said
Nick Magrisso, legislative advocate for NRDC.

Every year, up to 73 million sharks are killed, tens of
millions for their fins alone.  The fins are used for
shark fin soup, a luxury dish sometimes served at
Chinese weddings and banquets.  This soup has grown in
popularity, increasing consumer demand for shark fins
and contributing to the decimation of shark populations
worldwide.  As a result of these fishing pressures,
one-third of open ocean sharks are already threatened
with extinction.

Animals at the top of the food chain, such as sharks,
have few natural predators, so they are slow to mature,
and have very few young.  As a result, they are
extremely sensitive to fishing pressures, and are slow
to recover from overfishing.  As sharks play a vital
role in the oceans, their depletion could cause
irreparable damage to marine ecosystems.

Illinois provides one of the largest markets for shark
fins in the United States.  This legislation represents
a significant step towards reducing pressure on rapidly
declining shark populations.


About COARE
The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and
Education, Inc. (COARE) is a tax-exempt nonprofit
organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Its
purpose is to study our oceans and increase public
awareness of the earth's marine environment through
educational programs and outreach.  COARE seeks to
enlighten people, young and old, to the plight of the
oceans, to change the way they think and act, and to
encourage them to create positive and lasting change.
For more information about COARE, and the Shark Safe
certification program, visit http://www.coare.org and
http://www.sharksafe.org.

COARE, Shark Safe, and the Shark Safe logo are
trademarks of The Center for Oceanic Awareness,
Research, and Education, Inc.  All other company names
or marks mentioned herein are those of their respective
owners.

About HSUS
Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals
work on your Apple or Android device by searching for
our "HumaneTV" app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's
largest animal protection organization – backed by 11
million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a
half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the
protection of all animals through advocacy, education
and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and
confronting cruelty – On the web at humanesociety.org.

About NRDC
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an
international nonprofit environmental organization with
more than 1.3 million members and online activists.
Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other
environmental specialists have worked to protect the
world's natural resources, public health, and the
environment. NRDC has offices in New York City,
Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago,
Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org.

Media Contacts
Christopher Chin, media@coare.org, +1-510-495-7875
Stephanie Twining, stwining@hsus.org, +1-301-258-1491
Josh Mogerman, jmogerman@nrdc.org, +1-312-651-7909

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