New law and new partnership

Friday, 03 May 2013

Contents:
- Fin Ban update
- Partnership with OWUSS
- Dive & Travel Expo

Hello fellow ocean lovers!

Last month we reported some exciting news from the CITES proceedings in Thailand. International Trade regulations are an important component of a comprehensive strategy towards shark conservation. Another very critical component is decreasing the demand through policy and educational efforts. That's where fin bans come into play.

Last year, we were proud to author and sponsor the only fin ban to reach the books last year - HB 4119 in the U.S. State of Illinois. This year, we are supporting several efforts in other States, and we're pleased to report some steadfast progress.

Last month, Maryland's legislature passed HB1148/SB0592, and just yesterday, Governor Martin O'Malley signed those bills into law, making Maryland the first state in the Eastern U.S. to pass a ban on the sale and trade of shark fins.

Last year, our Executive Director traveled to Annapolis to testify before the Maryland Senate after the House of Representatives began stalling the bill because they felt there were a number of unanswered questions. After a lengthy Senate Hearing our ED had helped convince the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs to support the bill, and they voted unanimously to do so.

This year's bill is a slightly different incarnation, but we're thrilled to have helped laid the groundwork for success.

Also this month, both Delaware's House and Senate passed HB41, which now moves on to Governor Jack Markell, and New York's Senate passed S.1711b unanimously. Its companion bill A.1769b is now on third reading in the Assembly and should be taken up quite soon.

Sadly, all of the bills this year bear specific species exemptions. We see these as potential loopholes, and believe they create enforcement challenges. In normal practice, such exemptions are unnecessary, and were we the primary sponsor for these bills, we would have resisted such amendments at all costs.

However, we do continue to support these efforts and are celebrating these victories because they still directly affect shark fins in the market, and more importantly, they bring to light the deleterious effects of the shark fin trade.

Partnership with OWUSS

For a number of years, we've worked closely with The Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS), its scholars, and its interns. This past month, at the annual Rolex Scholarship Awards Ceremony held at the New York City Yacht Club, we announced an exciting new partnership with OWUSS.

Beginning in 2014, OWUSS will add to its scholarship and internship offerings a new Ocean Conservation Internship, hosted by COARE.

The OWUSS/COARE Ocean Conservation Internship is designed to provide a wide range of practical, programmatic, and administrative experience relating to environmental and conservation issues of local, regional, national, and global significance.

You can view our official press release at: https://www.coare.org/news/owussinternship/

Dive & Travel Expo

This coming weekend, (04-05 May) we'll be attending the Dive & Travel Expo in Santa Clara, California.

This is the show's second year, and we're excited about seeing familiar faces and making new friends. You'll find us in booth 117. If you're planning on coming to the show, stop by and say hello. You may also want to check out our presentation and update on some recent victories in shark conservation policy. That is scheduled to take place in Room A at 11:30 on Saturday.

To learn more about the Dive and Travel Expo, visit: http://divenewsnetwork.com/expo/index.php/santa-clara

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Wishing you healthy oceans,
Your friends at COARE

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