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Legal References for Shark Week


In honor of Shark Week, please enjoy the following list of resources suitable for addressing your shark-related legal interests, at least while in United States waters:

Shark Management
Sharks are considered a highly migratory fish species under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  As such, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is authorized to study sharks and work towards restocking shark populations.

Shark Finning
Under the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, in United States waters sharks may only be fished if landed with their fins fully attached.  This law is intended to prevent shark finning, a practice in which sharks are fished and thrown back after having their fins removed.  Additionally, it is currently illegal to possess or trade in the fins of any or most sharks in Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Delaware and Maryland; New York has just enacted a law that will ban trade in shark fins beginning in 2014.

Fake Megalodon Documentaries
The question of whether deliberately misleading “documentaries” expose their creators to legal liability has been discussed before (look here to see one free example).  However, unless the megalodon comes back from extinction and sues the creators of Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives for defamation, complaints about the show will likely find a home on the Internet rather than in courtrooms.

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