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Proposal Would Ban Sale, Import, Export of Shark Fins

Two bloody fins rest on the ground.
Adobe Stock

Rep. Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) is pushing a proposal that would ban Floridians from selling shark fins. It’s part of an effort to crack down on shark finning. The practice involves chopping fins off sharks and throwing them back into the ocean. 

Credit Adobe Stock
Under Jacobs' proposal it would be illegal to sell shark fins, including tails.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says sharks are a top predator and help balance the ocean’s ecosystem. But despite both federal and state efforts to stop shark finning, it’s still happening. 

“It’s heartbreaking to see them when they have a rusty hook in their mouth," Fred Garth says. He's a publisher of the fishing magazine, Guy Harvey. "But it’s even more heartbreaking to see them when they’ve got their fins chopped off and they’re dying on the reef. It’s a terrible, terrible sight.” 

Nineteen years ago the United States made shark finning illegal in U.S. waters, but selling shark fins wasn’t. In 2017, the state made it illegal to have detached shark fins in Florida waters. However, that didn’t stop the trade on land. Now, Jacobs is pushing a proposal to do just that.

“It makes no sense to say that we’re banning the practice, then we’re going to let you sell them anyway," Jacobs says.

Her plan bans the import, export, and sale of shark fins regardless of how they were obtained. A similar proposal failed in the last legislative session. This year’s bill passed its first committee hearing Wednesday and has two more to go. It hasn’t been heard yet in the Senate.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.