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                                                     Calendar No. 325
116th Congress      }                                   {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {      116-173
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     
                SHARK FIN SALES ELIMINATION ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 877







              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]








               December 12, 2019.--Ordered to be printed 
                               __________

                      U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
                      
99-010                     WASHINGTON : 2019 
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred sixteenth congress
                             first session

                 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi, Chairman
JOHN THUNE, South Dakota             MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 TOM UDALL, New Mexico
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee          TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia  TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
MIKE LEE, Utah                       JON TESTER, Montana
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
RICK SCOTT, Florida
                       John Keast, Staff Director
               David Strickland, Minority Staff Director






















                                                      Calendar No. 325
116th Congress      }                                   {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {      116-173
======================================================================



 
                SHARK FIN SALES ELIMINATION ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

               December 12, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Wicker, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 877]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 877) to prohibit sale of shark 
fins, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 877 is to prohibit any person from 
possessing, transporting, offering for sale, selling, or 
purchasing shark fins or products containing shark fins.

                          Background and Needs

    Shark finning is the practice of removing and retaining a 
shark's fin and discarding the carcass at sea. This practice 
has led to a growing concern about the status of certain shark 
species.\1\ Shark finning has been prohibited under Federal law 
since 2000.\2\ The Shark Conservation Act of 2010\3\ amended 
section 608 of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Protection Act\4\ 
to further prohibit the removal of any of the fins of a shark 
(including the tail) and discarding the carcass of the shark at 
sea. The prohibition focuses on the removal and custody of a 
detached fin aboard a fishing vessel in U.S.-controlled waters, 
as there is no Federal ban on the removal and sale of shark 
fins once the shark is brought ashore. Once a shark fin is 
detached from the body, it is almost impossible to determine 
whether the shark was legally caught or the fin lawfully 
removed. Determination of the species also is difficult, which 
is problematic given that some species of sharks are threatened 
with extinction.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA 
Fisheries, ``2014 Shark Finning Report to Congress'' (ftp://
ftp.library.noaa.gov/noaa_documents.lib/NMFS/OfcSustainableFisheries/
ReportstoCongress/shark-finning-report-2014.pdf).
    \2\Shark Finning Prohibition Act (16 U.S.C. 1822 note).
    \3\Pub. L. 111-348 (124 Stat. 3668).
    \4\16 U.S.C. 1826i.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the nationwide prohibition on shark finning, 
12 States (Texas, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, 
Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Nevada, 
and Washington) and three territories (American Samoa, Guam, 
and the Northern Mariana Islands) have already implemented bans 
on the sale, and in many cases the possession, of shark fins. A 
proposed ban is currently pending in New Jersey.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (MSA)\5\ guides management of Federal fisheries resources 
through the use of fishery management plans within the eight 
established regional councils. The National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service 
works with the fishery management councils, commercial and 
recreational fishermen, and others to conserve and sustainably 
manage domestic shark fisheries in both the Atlantic Ocean, 
including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific 
Ocean. Sustainably managed shark fisheries, including the 
selling of legally harvested shark fins, provide opportunities 
for both commercial and recreational fishermen.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
    \6\NOAA, NOAA Fisheries, ``Shark Conservation in the United States 
and Abroad'' (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2013/07/
7_15_13shark_conservation_us_and_abroad.html).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Summary of Provisions

    If enacted, S. 877 would do the following:
   Prohibit a person from possessing, transporting, 
        offering for sale, selling, or purchasing shark fins or 
        products containing shark fins, unless taken lawfully 
        under a State, territorial, or Federal license or 
        permit.
   Establish a maximum penalty for each violation of 
        $100,000, or the fair market value of the shark fins, 
        whichever is greater.

                          Legislative History

    S. 877 was introduced on March 26, 2019, by Senator Booker 
(for himself and Senators Capito, Cantwell, Portman, 
Whitehouse, McSally, and Schatz) and was referred to the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate. There are 25 additional cosponsors. On April 3, 2019, 
the Committee met in open Executive Session and, by voice vote, 
ordered S. 877 reported favorably without amendment.
    A related bill, H.R. 737, was introduced on January 23, 
2019, by Representative Sablan, and was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives.
    In the 115th Congress, similar legislation, S. 2773, was 
introduced on April 26, 2018, by Senator Feinstein (for herself 
and Senators Capito and Harris) and was referred to the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate. Senators Wicker and Blumenthal joined as cosponsors on 
June 21, 2018. On September 5, 2018, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 2773 reported 
favorably with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute).
    Additional similar legislation in the 115th Congress, H.R. 
1456, was introduced by Representative Royce in the House of 
Representatives, and was referred to the Subcommittee on Water, 
Power and Oceans of the Committee on Natural Resources of the 
House of Representatives. H.R. 1456 had 262 cosponsors by the 
end of the 115th Congress.
    In the 115th Congress, the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation of the Senate also reported S. 2764, the 
Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2018, favorably 
without amendment, which was sponsored by Senator Rubio (for 
himself and Senator Murkowski) and four additional cosponsors. 
S. 2764, and its House companion, H.R. 5248 (sponsored by 
Representative Webster), would have established a certification 
process to ensure that other countries trading sharks into or 
through the U.S. conserve and manage their shark populations in 
a comparable way to the U.S. regulatory programs, effectively 
prohibiting trade with any countries engaging in shark finning.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    S. 877 would prohibit the sale, transport, possession, and 
purchase of shark fins and products containing shark fins. 
Violators of this prohibition would be subject to a civil 
penalty pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act. The bill also would allow for the lawful 
possession of shark fins obtained via a state, territorial, or 
federal license or permit if the shark fin is used for 
noncommercial purposes, or used for display or research 
purposes by a museum, college, university, or any permitted 
researcher. The prohibition in the bill would not apply to 
Mustelus canis (smooth dogfish) or Squalus acanthias (spiny 
dogfish).
    Because S. 877 would prohibit the sale and purchase of 
shark fins, CBO estimates that revenues from customs duties 
collected on imported shark fin products would decline. CBO 
also estimates that penalty collections resulting from 
violations of the bill's prohibitions would increase revenues. 
However, based on information from the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and from states that ban the 
possession of shark fins, CBO estimates that the net effect of 
those revenue changes would not be significant in any year or 
over the 2019-2029 period.
    The bill's prohibitions would impose private-sector 
mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA). The cost of the mandates would include any loss of 
income from the sale of shark fins and products contacting 
shark fins and the cost to obtain a license or permit for 
noncommercial takings. Using information from NOAA about the 
value of shark fins landed in the United States, CBO estimates 
that the loss of income would total less than $3 million 
annually. Additionally, CBO estimates that the cost of 
obtaining a permit for the possession of shark fins for 
noncommercial purposes would be minimal and apply to a limited 
number of entities. CBO estimates that the cost of the mandates 
would fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA 
for private-sector mandates ($164 million in 2019, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Robert Reese 
(for federal costs) and Susan Willie (for mandates). The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 877, as reported, would not create any new programs. 
However, it may impose new regulatory requirements. The 
prohibition of shark finning would likely be detailed in a 
rulemaking and may subject individuals or businesses to new 
regulations.

                            economic impact

    S. 877, as reported, is not expected to have a negative 
impact on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The reported bill would have no impact on the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    The legislation would not increase paperwork requirements 
for private individuals or businesses. The bill would require 
one report from the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) by 
January 1, 2027, discussing the impacts, if any, of the 
exemption allowing for the continued harvest of spiny dogfish 
and smooth dogfish fins and tails.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that the Act may be cited as the 
``Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Findings.

    This section would provide the sense of Congress of the 
following:
   Many shark populations are on the decline worldwide, 
        and the global trade of shark fins is one of its 
        greatest threats.
   Shark fins are removed primarily to be 
        commercialized as a fungible commodity, and are often 
        removed while the remainder of the shark is discarded.
   Abolition of the shark fin trade in the United 
        States will remove the United States from the global 
        market and create a stronger position for advocating 
        for abolition of the shark fin trade in other 
        countries.

Section 3. Prohibition on sale of shark fins.

    This section would prohibit a person from possessing, 
transporting, offering for sale, selling, or purchasing shark 
fins or products containing shark fins, unless taken lawfully 
under a State, territorial, or Federal license or permit as 
authorized by section 4. This section also would align the 
violation with the penalties under the MSA with a maximum civil 
penalty for each violation of $100,000 or the fair market value 
of the shark fin, whichever is greater.

Section 4. Exceptions.

    This section would provide an exception allowing a person 
to possess a shark fin that was taken lawfully under a State, 
territorial, or Federal license or permit to take or land 
sharks, if the shark fin is separated from the shark in a 
manner consistent with the license or permit and is--
   destroyed or discarded upon separation;
   used for noncommercial subsistence purposes in 
        accordance with State or territorial law;
   used solely for display or research purposes by a 
        museum, college, or university, or other person under a 
        State or Federal permit to conduct noncommercial 
        scientific research; or
   retained by the license or permit holder for a 
        noncommercial purpose.

Section 5. Dogfish.

    This section would create an exemption from the prohibition 
under section 3 for the species known as smooth dogfish and 
spiny dogfish and allow a person to possess, transport, offer 
for sale, sell, or purchase a fin or tail from those species. 
This section also would require the Secretary to review the 
exemption and submit a report to Congress with recommendations 
not later than January 1, 2027.

Section 6. Definition of shark fin.

    This section would define the term ``shark fin'' to mean 
the raw, dried, or otherwise processed detached fin or tail of 
a shark.

Section 7. State authority.

    This section would clarify that nothing in this Act should 
be construed to preclude or limit the right of a State or 
territory to adopt or enforce more stringent standards.

Section 8. Severability.

    This section would specify that if any provision of the Act 
is found invalid it would not affect other provisions of the 
Act which are severable.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.

                                  [all]