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 Illinois Shark Fin Ban (HB 4119) Signed Into Law . . .

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

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01 July 2012



          HISTORIC ILLINOIS LEGISLATION PROTECTS SHARKS


     Governor Pat Quinn Signed House Bill 4119 into Law Today,
     Making Illinois the First Inland State to Ban Shark Fins.


Chicago, Illinois – 01 July 2012 -- Today, the State of
Illinois adopted a legislative ban on shark fins,
through the enactment of House Bill 4119 (sponsored by
Sara Feigenholtz and Antonio Muñoz).  The bill was
signed into law today by Gov. Pat Quinn.  The Center for
Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE),
applauds the State of Illinois for joining them in their
work to actively address shark conservation issues, and
their attempts to reduce shark fin consumption in the
U.S. and worldwide.

Illinois is now the fourth State in the continental U.S.
and the second largest to ban the sale, trade,
possession, and distribution of shark fins.  Illinois
provides one of the largest markets for shark fins in
the United States, and this law represents a significant
step towards reducing pressure on rapidly declining
shark populations.  

"Sharks have roamed our oceans for millions of years,
but the practice of harvesting them for their fins poses
a serious threat to the species," Governor Quinn said.
"By limiting the market for shark fins, we can help
sustain and grow shark populations around the world."

"The number of sharks around the world has decreased
dramatically as more people poach them to sell the
fins," said Rep. Feigenholtz.  "I would like to thank
Governor Quinn for signing legislation that shows
Illinois will not participate in threatening the
species."

"I'm delighted that Illinois can take part in the
worldwide movement to protect these important
creatures," said Sen. Antonio Muñoz, May 15, when the
bill passed the Senate.  "We're grateful for
organizations like COARE, The Humane Society, and NRDC,
which have done a wonderful job educating legislators,
constituents, and stakeholders alike."

"Today is a great day not just for sharks and for
Illinois; it is a great day for the whole world," said
Christopher Chin, COARE's executive director, who
authored the bill.  "This new law reflects the
importance of our ocean's fragile resources to everyone,
including those thousands of miles from the shore."

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.

House Bill (HB) 4119 was introduced to the Illinois
House of Representatives on 25 January 2012 by Rep. Sara
Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), and subsequently passed the
House on 08 March 2011 with a vote of 81-33 and the
State Senate on 15 May 2012 with a vote of 41-13.

Illinois' ban will take affect on 01 January 2013, and
complements similar legislation enacted in Washington,
Oregon, California, and Hawai'i.  Illinois' ban is also
preceded by legislative bans adopted by Guam, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI),
Fiji, and the Bahamas.


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.


Media Contact
Christopher Chin, media@coare.org, +1-510-495-7875

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