A bill that would have banned the import, export and sale of shark fins in the U.S. state of Florida, the biggest hub of shark fin trading in the country, was passed by the Florida state House of Representatives on March 9th but with a loophole that one shark advocate says has “weakened the bill beyond recognition.”

The bill earlier in the day was passed by the state Senate, but when the House brought it up for a vote, an amendment was inserted by Representative Tobin Overdorf that would allow:

“The sale of shark fins by any commercial fisherman who harvested sharks from a vessel holding a valid federal shark fishing permit on January 1, 2020. The export and sale of shark fins by any wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.”

Oceana Deputy Vice President Beth Lowell slammed the amendment:

“After passage through six House and Senate committees and subcommittees and a near-unanimous vote in the Florida Senate, in the eleventh hour, the Florida House has weakened the bill beyond recognition.”

Stefanie Brendl, executive director of Shark Allies, said that even with the amendment, the bill still would ban the import and export of shark fins, and it would not have been passed without some sort of compromise.

“We’re stopping the big shipments coming through Miami, and a study is already mandated on what should be done on a local level. We have a pathway forward.”

Because of the amendment, the bill must now be passed again by the Florida Senate, which is scheduled to go on recess at the end of this week.

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