The same day in which Bill Posey argued about the science backed harmless levels of mercury in a very small number of flu vaccinations, he voted against a bill aimed at stopping the commercial trade of shark fins in the United States. Shark fins are known at times to contain mercury levels so high that they pose a public health risk. Again he argues against proven science and evidence, and when he has the opportunity to actually vote for something to stop the exact thing he argued for (decreasing risk of injury from mercury), he votes against it. We deserve better than this.
Our leaders have to make decisions based off of science, data, and facts; not fear and emotion. Posey increasingly makes decisions based off of conspiracy theories, misinformation campaigns, and posting videos from known discredited websites on his official Facebook page. In fact, he recently bazzaringly questioned Mark Zuckerberg in a hearing on cryptocurrency about why Facebook doesn’t promote anti-vax information. This is insane, but more importantly it’s dangerous.
This bill — the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019 — would make it illegal to possess, trade, distribute, sell, or purchase shark fins in the U.S. and also prohibit their import or export. It would also establish penalties for shark finning under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
This bill has 128 bipartisan cosponsors, including 101 Democrats and 27 Republicans, in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, this bill passed through both the Senate and House committees with the support of 262 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 177 Democrats and 85 Republicans. It has the support of Oceana, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Shark Stewards, and the Animal Welfare Institute.
The original cosponsor of the bill Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) says: “I am proud to help introduce the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which builds upon existing federal law and state initiatives to ban the sale, purchase, or possession of shark fins in the United States. The gruesome shark-finning practices are decimating populations and putting many species on the brink of extinction. This sound bipartisan legislation will promote conservation and responsible fishing practices that are good for the environment and our economy. As the largest economy in the world, how we conduct our commerce has a profound impact on global markets and greatly influences others’ economic behavior. It is long since time we leverage our economic might against shark-finning and work to counter the larger issue of animal poaching and the illicit trafficking of animal parts.”
What is shark finning?
Sharks are now being killed 30 percent faster than they can reproduce. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2011, 16,815 metric tons of shark fins were traded worldwide. This commerce is unsustainable, and some shark populations have declined by as much as 90% in recent decades, resulting in a crisis not only for sharks themselves but for the balance of ocean ecosystems.
In a poll from Oceana.org the key findings were:
- Eighty-nine percent of voters agree that shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice.
- Seventy-five percent of registered Republicans and 84 percent of registered Democrats support the legislation.
- Americans 65 years and older register the highest amount of support for the bill, at 91 percent.
- Women register higher amounts of support for the bill than men, at 84 percent vs. 76 percent, respectively.
- A subsample of 107 Floridian voters indicate 88 percent support for the bill.
“It’s clear that Americans support a ban on the trade of shark fins—and Congress should listen,” said Oceana campaign director Lora Snyder.
Bill Posey’s job is to represent your voice. Clearly he is not doing that. His duty is to make decisions based on facts, not special interest groups. His decisions put us all at risk. As an engineer and a scientist, it is what I do for a living, and it is what I will do for you.