American Samoa Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says a bill to crack down on shark-finning has been approved by the US House Natural Resources Committee.
The bill would strengthen enforcement of an existing ban on removing the fins of a shark and discarding the carcass, which was first established in the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000.
Despite the prohibition, fishermen still go to sea and purchase fins from other vessels, later claiming the fin meets the shark catch weight requirement.
Faleomavaega says the bill would close this loophole, making it illegal for a vessel to carry fins unattached to the shark carcass.
"Personally I don't like the way and manner in which sharks are being killed. But at least as a conservation measure is that before you can export any sharks from US ports, those fins better be on that shark before they can be validly exported to countries that demand or where there is a demand for shark fin soup."
Faleomavaega says the bill will now go to the House of Representatives for a final decision.