A new bill filed in the Florida Senate last week could have a positive effect on the shark population.
Senate Bill 884 entitled “Sharks” would “prohibit the possession, sale, offer for sale, trade, or distribution of shark fins or shark tails.” The bill, filed by state Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Jacksonville, also would require the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to destroy any shark fins or tails seized.
Shark populations are in decline, according to the bill’s text, and shark finning causes the deaths of tens of millions of sharks each year.
The practice of shark finning is when a person catches a shark and cuts off one or all of its fin, including dorsal at the top, pectoral at its sides or caudal under its tail. The shark is then tossed back into the water, where its slowly dies either by drowning from the lack of oxygen flowing through its gills, starvation or becoming prey for other sharks.
Shark fins are most popularly used in shark fin soup, which is a delicacy in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. The purpose of the bill would be to decrease the demand of Florida’s market for shark fins.
According to the bill’s text, each offense would be considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Someone in the possession of a commercial or recreational license or permit who commits the violation may be subject to its suspension or revocation.
A companion bill was filed Wednesday in the House by Reps. Alexandra C. Miller, R-Sarasota, and Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota.