WASHINGTON, June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, The Humane Society of the United States and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation delivered letters to Senate and House sponsors in strong support of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.
Signed by SeaWorld President and CEO Joel Manby, HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle and renowned marine life artist Guy Harvey, the letter reaffirms all three organizations' commitment to strengthening federal laws to end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
Shark finning – cutting off a shark's fins while the shark is alive and conscious, then discarding the critically injured animal to die – leads to the deaths of upwards to 75 million sharks each year for a mere five percent of their body weight. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has estimated that a quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction.
"The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would strengthen federal laws against the bloody and wasteful practice of shark finning and takes vital steps toward both protecting sharks from cruelty as well as preserving our oceans' fragile ecosystems," the authors write. "This is a mainstream, common-sense proposal that has already been embraced in ten of our most-populated and diverse states, including Texas, California and New York."
The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 would expand on prior legislation limiting the practice, including the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 and the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. While the Shark Finning Prohibition Act and the Shark Conservation Act banned shark finning and the transportation of any such fins on U.S.-flagged vessels, the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act would aid much needed shark finning prevention efforts by prohibiting the trade of shark fins.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, The HSUS and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation have pledged their help to educate the public about the adverse effects of shark finning, including its cascading effects on our planet and marine ecosystems, including fewer oysters and clams and damaged coral reefs.
"Public policymakers and private organizations like ours have the opportunity to collaborate to reduce fear and misinformation about sharks while promoting the conservation of shark species and habitats," the authors write. "We hope that you will consider us as resources and allies in the fight against finning."
Guy Harvey and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment already have collaborated at SeaWorld Orlando to further public education on sharks with the unveiling of a redesigned Shark Wreck Reef area, including the new Mako attraction. Harvey, the host of these interactive education experiences at the park, has partnered with SeaWorld to contribute portions of the proceeds from related merchandise to fund ocean conservation efforts and scientific research.
About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned – more than 28,000 over the last 50 years - with the goal of returning them to the wild. SeaWorldCares.com
The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®, and has 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company.
About The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation's largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org
About Guy Harvey
Guy Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea. His childhood passion for the ocean and its living creatures not only inspired him to draw, but fueled a burning interest that prompted a formal education in marine science. Having graduated with honors in Marine Biology from Aberdeen University in Scotland in 1977, Guy returned home to Jamaica to resume his education, earning his Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies in 1984. Though he gave up a budding career as a marine biologist for that of a highly acclaimed artist, Guy has continued his relentless pursuit to unravel the mysteries of the sea, traveling the world to better understand the habits and habitats of the marine wildlife he paints. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is focused on sensible strategies for promoting ocean conservation and the development of the next generation of marine scientists. For more information, please visit www.guyharvey.com.
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SOURCE SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment