The Shark Conservation Act was signed into law by President Obama on January 4th, according to a report from WIRED. While shark finning (the practice of cutting off a shark’s fins and dumping the rest of the shark back in the water) was already illegal in U.S. waters, there was a loophole, in which the law did not apply to boats that were not equipped with fishing gear. The newly-signed law closes that loophole, largely.
According to the WIRED report, the law bans all shark finning on any vessel, with the exception of North Carolina’s dogfish fishery. The exception was a compromise to gain the vote of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. The North Carolina dogfish fishery accounts for one percent of shark fishing in U.S. waters.
In addition to the ban on finning on U.S. waters, the new law allows the U.S. to block seafood imports from nations that allow shark finning.