Report text available as:

(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?



106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     106-650

======================================================================



 
                     SHARK FINNING PROHIBITION ACT

                                _______
                                

  June 6, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3535]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3535) to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act to eliminate the wasteful and 
unsportsmanlike practice of shark finning, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Shark Finning Prohibition Act''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

  The purpose of this Act is to eliminate the wasteful and 
unsportsmanlike practice of shark finning and to reduce the high 
mortality levels associated with shark finning in waters of the United 
States.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON REMOVING SHARK FIN AND DISCARDING SHARK CARCASS 
                    AT SEA.

  Section 307 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1857) is amended--
          (1) in subparagraph (N) by striking ``or'' after the 
        semicolon at the end;
          (2) in subparagraph (O) by striking the period and inserting 
        ``; or''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following:
                  ``(P)(i) to remove any of the fins of a shark 
                (including the tail) and discard the carcass of the 
                shark at sea;
                  ``(ii) to have custody, control, or possession of any 
                such fin aboard a fishing vessel without the 
                corresponding carcass; or
                  ``(iii) to land any such fin without the 
                corresponding carcass;''.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 3535 is to amend the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act to eliminate the 
wasteful and unsportsmanlike practice of shark finning.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Sharks are harvested in many parts of the world in directed 
fisheries; however, in the United States waters, they are 
primarily caught as bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries such 
as the swordfish and tuna fisheries. In some fisheries, the 
shark is landed and both the flesh of the shark and the fins 
are sold for food purposes. In fisheries where the shark's fin 
is the primary product from the animal, the fins are removed at 
sea and are dried before they are landed.
    Shark finning is currently prohibited in fisheries of the 
United States in waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, 
and the Caribbean Sea; however, the practice is not illegal in 
the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Shark finning is a 
practice where the fins of a shark are removed and retained 
while a portion or all of the carcass is then discarded back 
into the ocean.
    The fins of sharks are the primary ingredient in shark-fin 
soup. The increasing popularity of shark-fin soup in Asia has 
increased the practice of shark finning in Hawaii. In fact, in 
1991, the percentage of sharks retained by the longline 
fisheries for finning was approximately 3 percent. By 1998, 
that percentage had grown to 60 percent. Between 1991 and 1998, 
the number of sharks retained by the Hawaii-based swordfish and 
tuna longline fishery had increased from 2,289 to 60,857 
annually, and by 1998, it is estimated that over 98 percent of 
these sharks were killed for their fins. While the Hawaiian 
longline fleet produces between 66,000-88,000 pounds of shark 
fins per year, this amount represents approximately one percent 
of the worldwide production of shark fins.

Blue sharks

    The blue shark is one of the most common and widely 
distributed pelagic sharks of all the shark species and they 
are highly migratory. They are found throughout the tropical, 
sub-tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and 
Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
    While most shark species have slow growth rates, mature 
late and produce small litters, blue sharks are one of the most 
prolific sharks. The litter size of blue sharks varies with the 
average litter consisting of between 20 and 40 pups; however, 
some litter sizes have reached as many as 135 pups. While the 
blue shark matures faster and produces more offspring than 
other sharks, sharks in general do not produce offspring at the 
replacement rates of most fish species.
    The blue shark is the primary shark affected by finning in 
the Western Pacific Ocean. The sharks are caught as a bycatch 
in the longline fisheries, which primarily target tuna and 
swordfish. The fins of sharks only account for one to five 
percent of the total body weight, which results in 95 to 
99percent of the carcass being wasted. Of the approximately 100,000 
sharks that are caught off Hawaii, 90 to 95 percent of these sharks are 
blue sharks.
    The population of blue sharks is unknown in the Pacific 
Ocean; however, the Honolulu Laboratory of the National Marine 
Fisheries Service is working on a comprehensive stock 
assessment of blue sharks that is expected to be completed in 
May of 2000. The last stock assessment of blue sharks was 
completed in 1991 and at that time the stock in the North 
Pacific was estimated to range between 52 million and 67 
million animals.

Federal fisheries conservation and management and Hawaii State law

    Fisheries in United States waters are primarily managed 
through federal legislation known as the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act). The Magnuson-Stevens Act delegates management of fishery 
resources in the Pacific Ocean seaward of the States of Hawaii, 
American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the 
insular areas of the United States in the Pacific Ocean area to 
the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that fishery management 
plans must be consistent with the national standards for 
fishery conservation and management. Included in these national 
standards is a requirement that ``Conservation and management 
measures shall, to the extent practicable, (A) minimize bycatch 
and (B) to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize the 
mortality of such bycatch.'' Since the primary source of shark 
fins is as a result of bycatch in longline fisheries, the 
increased retention and increased mortality of sharks has 
caused concern among fisheries managers and conservation 
organizations.
    While the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management 
Council has been debating the issue of shark finning and 
whether to create a fishery management plan for a directed 
shark fishery, the National Marine Fisheries Service has 
written to the Council on several occasions urging the Council 
to address the issue of finning immediately.
    Following the hearing on a resolution which condemned the 
practice of shark finning as wasteful and unsportsmanlike (H. 
Con. Res. 189), the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council 
at its February/March meeting took action to restrict the 
longline fleet to one shark per trip limit for all non-blue 
shark species, to require that all non-blue sharks be landed 
whole, and to cap the blue shark quota at 50,000 animals per 
year. In May, the Council passed additional measures under the 
pelagic management plan, which includes coastal sharks, that 
bans demersal longline gear.
    In addition, the State of Hawaii passed legislation that is 
awaiting signature by the Governor which would prohibit the 
harvest of shark fins in territorial waters of the State or the 
landing of shark fins unless the shark is landed whole. 
Penalties in the bill include: seizure and forfeiture of shark 
fins, commercial marine licenses, vessel and fishing equipment; 
and an administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not more 
than $15,000. Changes have been made to the Hawaii longline 
trip report forms requiring fishermen to report shark fins sold 
to dealers.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 3535 was introduced on January 27, 2000, by 
Congressman Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham (R-CA). The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Resources, and within the 
Committee to the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, 
Wildlife and Oceans. On April 13, 2000, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on the bill, where testimony was heard from the 
Honorable Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, U.S. House of 
Representatives; Ms. Penelope Dalton, Assistant Administrator 
for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service; Mr. James D. 
Cook, Chairman, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management 
Council; Mr. Frederick M. O'Regan, President, International 
Fund For Animal Welfare; and Mr. William Aila, Harbor Master, 
Waianae Small Boat Harbor. On May 18, 2000, the Subcommittee 
met to mark up the bill. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) 
offered an amendment to prohibit the removal of any shark fins 
and discarding the carcass at sea and the custody, control, 
possession or landing of shark fins without the corresponding 
carcass. The amendment was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as 
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the Full 
Committee by voice vote. On May 24, 2000, the Full Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. There were no further 
amendments and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by voice vote.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations 
are reflected in the body of this report.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in tax 
expenditures. The bill would increase revenues by a 
``negligible amount.''
    3. Government Reform Oversight Findings. Under clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee has received no report of 
oversight findings and recommendations from the Committee on 
Government Reform on this bill.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, June 6, 2000.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3535, the Shark 
Finning Prohibition Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Deborah 
Reis (for federal costs), and Natalie Tawil (for the private-
sector impact).
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3535--Shark Finning Prohibition Act

    H.R. 3535 would make it unlawful to remove any of the fins 
of a shark and then discard the carcass of the fish at sea. 
Persons who violate this prohibition would be liable for a 
civil penalty. CBO expects that this new penalty would increase 
federal revenues, but by a negligible amount. Because the bill 
would affect governmental receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures 
would apply.
    H.R. 3535 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
significant costs on state, local, or tribal governments. The 
bill would impose new private-sector mandates, but CBO estimate 
that the total direct costs of the mandates would fall well 
below the annual threshold established in UMRA ($109 million in 
2000, adjusted annually for inflation) in any of the first five 
years that the mandates are in effect.
    Under current law, shark finning is banned in the U.S. 
waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico, but not 
in the Central and Western Pacific. H.R. 3535 would impose new 
federal mandates on the private sector by making it illegal to 
remove any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) and 
discard the carcass of the shark at sea, and to bring fins to 
port without the corresponding carcass. H.R. 3535 also would 
impose a new mandate on the private sector by effectively 
prohibiting the transshipment of fins--the transfer of fins 
from foreign vessels outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone 
to U.S.-based vessels for export from the United States or the 
landing of fins by foreign vessels in U.S. ports.
    According to estimates by the National Marine Fisheries 
Service, the total value of shark fins harvested by fishermen 
on U.S. vessels and landed in the Central and Western Pacific 
(Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa) in 1998 was about $1.4 
million. The National Marine Fisheries Service also estimates 
that the total value of shark fins transshipped through Hawaii, 
Guam, and American Samoa did not exceed $3.9 million at the 
point of first sales transactions in 1998. The value to the 
U.S. private sector of those transshipments is substantially 
less than that initial sales value of the transshipped fins. 
Thus, CBO estimates that the total direct costs of the 
mandates, measured as lost net income, would fall well below 
the annual threshold established in UMRA ($109 million in 2000, 
adjusted annually for inflation) in any of the first five years 
that the mandates are in effect.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Deborah Reis 
(for federal costs), and Natalie Tawil (for the private-sector 
impact). The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

SECTION 307 OF THE MAGNUSON-STEVENS FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT 
                                  ACT


SEC. 307. PROHIBITED ACTS.

  It is unlawful--
          (1) for any person--
                  (A)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (N) to strip pollock of its roe and discard 
                the flesh of the pollock; [or]
                  (O) to knowingly and willfully fail to 
                disclose, or to falsely disclose, any financial 
                interest as required under section 302(j), or 
                to knowingly vote on a Council decision in 
                violation of section 302(j)(7)(A)[.]; or
                  (P)(i) to remove any of the fins of a shark 
                (including the tail) and discard the carcass of 
                the shark at sea;
                  (ii) to have custody, control, or possession 
                of any such fin aboard a fishing vessel without 
                the corresponding carcass; or
                  (iii) to land any such fin without the 
                corresponding carcass;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *