The Timeline of Fin Trade Laws

 Bags of dried shark fins sold in Hong Kong. Photo by PangeaSeed Foundation. 

Bags of dried shark fins sold in Hong Kong. Photo by PangeaSeed Foundation. 


2010 Marked the beginning of a change

Hawaii State Senator Clayton Hee and his team realized that the fin issue needed a new approach. They introduced the first prohibition on the sale, possession and trade of shark fins. We were fortunate to be part of this team and work side by side in the development and advocacy for this bill. At the time, there wasn’t much hope in the conservation world that this would have a chance of passing. But we persisted and Hawaii became the first State to pass such a law. The lessons we learned were invaluable and we were able to implement this approach in other regions.

The Hawaii law became model legislation for 11 other US states and many Pacific island nations. 


States that passed Fin Trade laws since 2010:  

  • Hawaii
  • California
  • Washigton
  • Oregon
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Rhode Island  
  • Delaware
  • Texas
  • Nevada


PACIFIC Island Nations and US territories:

(some implemented fin trade laws, but most of them incorporated fin bans within Shark Sanctuary declarations or other Marine Acts)

  • Palau
  • Guam
  • Cnmi
  • Rmi
  • Fsm
  • Cook Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Tokelau
  • Niue
  • New Caledonia
  • Samoa
  • American Samoa



Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2018   Senate Bill: S. 793   and     House Bill: H.R. 1456:


We have made progress, but the battle continues

Along with the success, the opposition to fin bans has also grown.

As one State shuts down, the trade tends to move to the next. This is not a reason to give up. It simply means we have to persist. It is crucial that we do not let off the pressure and continue to block the trade in the key coastal US States as well as on a national level.


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Stefanie Brendl