Over the years, I have made protecting the welfare of our animals and wildlife a priority. I introduced legislation to require the protection of endangered right whales from injury and death due to ship strikes. This legislation regulates the speed of vessels to reduce the incidences of collision with North Atlantic right whales and urges the administration to move forward in protecting this endangered whale. I also recently introduced a resolution to persuade the International Whaling Commission to place stricter regulations on commercial whaling.
I also have fought to secure federal protections for the iconic polar bear, which is at risk of extinction from large-scale melting of the sea ice that makes up its habitat. Senator Snowe and I introduced the Polar Bear Protection Act, a bipartisan bill which would prohibit trophy hunters from bringing polar bear carcasses into the US from Canada. I have also fought to put the polar bear on the Endangered Species List and give them a fighting chance at survival.
Most recently, I introduced legislation to strengthen the existing United States ban on shark finning and promote the international conservation of sharks. Since the 1970s, some shark species have declined by as much as 80 percent, upsetting the balance of our marine ecosystem. My legislation is important to maintaining the health of our oceans and will help sharks to continue their predatory role in the ecosystem.
The success of our efforts to build an economy that doesn't harm our environment can often be seen in the state of the wildlife that lives among us. We need to do all we can to protect them, and give us an environment where plants, animals, and people can thrive.