Great White Shark smiles
Senate Bill Outlaws Shark Finning,
Restricts Shark Fin Trading
On Monday the Senate passed legislation that will promote the conservation of sharks internationally and provide a more equal playing field for U.S. fishermen. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), closes loopholes in a ban on shark finning imposed by then-president Clinton.
First, vessels are prohibited from having custody, control, or possession of shark fins without the corresponding carcass. Second, it is a violation of law if the total weight of shark fins landed or found on board exceeds 5 percent of the total weight of shark carcasses. Third, and most particularly, all sharks landed must have their fins naturally attached.
With more than 90% of the sharks already absent from world oceans, this is legislation is a big step for sharks.  If one is going to kill and harvest a shark, one must use the whole shark.  The bill legislates public shame under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act with the identification and prominent listing of nations that have fishing vessels that have not adopted a regulatory program for the conservation of sharks that is similar to the U.S.
Great White Shark in Mexico

More good news on sharks - the Shark Conservation Act has passed the House, and now only needs President Obama's signature to become law!
Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud in their film Oceans show from underwater the dropping into the ocean of a shark with dorsal and tail fin cut off.  The shark is still alive and sinks despite attempting to swim. The cameraman/diver follows the shark down to a sandy bottom where the shark continues to try to swim to no avail.  Such images are not easily forgotten. Now shark finning legislation enacted by the Senate and House outlaws such terrible treatment of sharks.   
The oceans need your help said the December 14th ORI eAlert. Please tell your Senators to take action for harmful algal blooms, turtles, sharks and the wellbeing of oceans. On December 20th and 21st Congress acted for sharks, and you helped.  

To learn more about the cartilaginous critters: sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras rescued by this bill visit the American Elasmobranch Society to advance the scientific study of living and fossil Elasmobranchs.  Go Elasmo's!
Indian River Lagoon Dolphins
You wrote the most letters (5,612 or 21% of ORI letters) in support of belugas, the magnificent whistling and chirping white whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska. You demanded critical habitat designation of their home waters.  That decision is still pending. 
Our Indian River Lagoon (FL) campaign to save dolphins suffering from excessive nitrogen and phosphorus pollution was second with 18% of the letters written.  Participation was 15%  in the Green Slime, Red Tide Nevermore campaign.  Nearly tied for second (17%) was No New Drilling combined with Let’s Federalize the Clean Up.  A three way tie for third goes to the National Endowment for Oceans, a National Ocean Policy and Take Harmful Chemicals Out of Drinking Water.  You also wrote letters in 2010 to build a salt marsh on Chelsea Creek, protect blue fin tuna and Atlantic wolfish, save the British Virgin Islands, the Westfield River and Stellwagen Bank. 
When you write and join with ORI’s efforts, decision-makers listen. They listen because your letters are thoughtful and heartfelt. Many took the time to put the issue into their own words. Decision makers do not always decide the way we want. However, decisions are informed by the articulate populace, us, speaking up from across the nation.  Thank you for enabling ORI to make positive differences for oceans, rivers, and wildlife!
Baikal Seal for ORI
It took three months for six-year-old Billy, a Baikal seal, to master the serving of saki in a hot spring. Tune in to Rob's talk with Peter Thomson, Environment Editor at the public radio program The World, to learn about Lake Baikal's troubles and the efforts in play to save Russia's "sacred sea."

We need your support right now! (It's easier than serving saki with flippers.) Your gift enables ORI to educate the public and influence politicians to protect our precious rivers and oceans.  With your help we:
  • Fight to protect Indian River Lagoon dolphins from toxic slime
  • Advocate for a strong national ocean endowment to support ocean science and stewardship
  • Support Chelsea Creek Action Group's efforts to give East Boston locals their salt marsh 
  • Mobilize individuals and groups for effective environmental rules and policies
ORI is fighting to save critical habitats and wildlife. We can win these battles, but we need your support for these vital efforts. Please donate now.
Dawn Tidepooling Boston

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Discover how, with the knowledge of Rachel Carson and the courage of Achilles, individuals are making a difference for healthier oceans, rivers, watersheds and skies. Choose from thirty-four podcast episodes of Moir's Environmental Dialogues, Ocean River Shields of AchillesAlso available free on iTunes, search "Moir's".
Rubber Duck for ORI
Ocean River Institute
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