A bill has been introduced into the Florida legislature that looks to ban the import, export and sale of shark fins in the U.S. state, the biggest hub of shark fin trading in the country.
Although shark finning is illegal in the USA, it’s still prevalent and loopholes have made it nearly impossible to enforce.
According to Stefanie Brendl, founder of Shark Allies:
“Much like elephant ivory, rhino horn, and other endangered species products, the only way to end the trade is by not allowing the possession, sale, or trade of that product. If this bill passes, Florida will be a shining example for conservation and protection of sharks, rather than a participant in the fin trade.”
In advance of the upcoming legislative session, Shark Allies partnered with Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to shine a light on the importance of sharks to Florida’s economy. Healthy shark populations support the tourism, diving and fishing industries, directly contributing to the economy and supporting thousands of jobs. According to a study done by Oceana, income from dive tourism and shark encounters in Florida alone can reach over US$220 million (~197.7 million Euros) per year, compared to just $1 million (~899,000 Euros) that is brought in from the exports of shark fins from the entire USA, according to Shark Allies.
The ban on shark fins in the USA started with a landmark bill in Hawaii in 2010 that was spearheaded by Shark Allies. The bill was the first of its kind and has since become model legislation for 12 other U.S. states, three territories and many Pacific Island Nations.