Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Create strong trade laws that protect against shark hunting and finning
It is estimated that one hundred million sharks are killed each year. That is about one in every fifteen sharks. Shark fin soup is the main cause of this mass slaughter which is targeting a crucial species responsible for maintaining the balance and health of the world’s oceans. Currently, President Obama is working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is a trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries. Negotiations began with strong laws against environmental degradation and exploitation. However, because many Pacific Rim countries rely heavily on raw materials like wood and fish as exports, the trade agreement has grown increasingly weaker on laws protecting oceans and forests.
While the U.S. originally intended to fight for a ban on the shark fin trade, a recently leaked draft shows a change in plans. The leaked copy only suggests that countries create laws about fish management and where appropriate the shark trade. A weak suggestion such as this will do nothing to protect sharks from slaughter. TPP negotiations continue with plans to finish in November of 2014. With only a few months before the close of negotiations, we need to work quickly.
Sharks play a pivotal role in the ocean. They keep fish populations in check, weed out sick and weak members of prey species, prevent overgrazing of sea grass, and help maintain the health of coral reefs. But thirty percent of the world’s shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction. In places where sharks have been hunted until non-existant, coral reefs have suffered and even commercial fishing saw a dramatic decline in catch rates. The shark fin trade is a big cause of the slaughter of so many sharks. It is vital that the TPP have strong laws against shark hunting and the shark fin trade in order to protect sharks and the health of the oceans. Tell President Obama to stay firm and fight for the protection of sharks.
Dear President Obama,
The Trans-Pacific Partnership which you are currently working on could play a crucial role in protecting the environment and securing healthy oceans for years to come. One major issue is the killing of sharks, especially for the shark fin trade. Without sharks, the world’s oceans will be knocked out of equilibrium, coral reefs will suffer, commercial fishing outputs will decline, and other fish species will be left unchecked. Sharks have been maintaining a balance in the oceans for over 450 million years. It is unwise to leave their fate in the hands of people who profit from cutting off their fins and leaving them to die.
Thirty percent of shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction. You have the power to save shark species and ensure oceanic health. I urge you to continue to fight against the shark fin trade and include strong laws prohibiting the shark fin trade in the TPP agreement. To ensure that the world now and the world of the future is vivacious and resilient, we have to fight for so much more than monetary benefits. Please, fight for sharks and fight for the environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Cloneofsnake via Wikipedia