It’s Official: Obama Signs Shark Conservation Act

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A quick update on the shark front: In one of the first acts coming back from his Hawaiian vacay, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 into law on Tuesday.

The bill, which I wrote about here a couple weeks back after it passed the Senate, will tighten the ban on shark finning — the practice of catching sharks, removing their fins and dumping them back overboard — in U.S. waters. (As reader whysharksmatter pointed out, the new law still excludes the Smooth Dogfish.) Finning is already illegal under American law, but a few loopholes have allowed the practice to continue in the shadows.

Perhaps Obama took a cue from his home state’s own take on shark fins: This summer, Hawaii adopted a landmark law that wholly bans shark fins’ trade, sale and purchase. Or maybe he took inspiration from the state’s motto, Ua mau ke ea o kaina i ke pono — “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” A better conservation message would be hard to come by.