President Barack Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act into law earlier this week, significantly strengthening shark conservation both nationally and internationally.
The act, which was first introduced in the House by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and later in the Senate by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), passed both Houses of Congress on Dec. 21 during the lame-duck session.
Shark finning, the practice of cutting off a shark's fins and discarding the mutilated carcass at sea, has been banned in the United States since 2000. However, an unanticipated loophole allowed U.S. flagged vessels to skirt regulations by purchasing fins on the high seas from fishermen engaged in finning. The fins could then be brought back to the U.S. and sold for steep profits.