Gov. Rick Scott has signed a watered-down bill initially proposed to stop the shark finning trade in Florida.

The bill, signed Tuesday 5/23/17, does increase penalties for shark finning and codifies a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rule prohibiting this practice, but does not go as far as shark conservation groups wanted. The original version of the bill would have made it a first-degree misdemeanor in the state to trade or sell shark fins and tails, as well as suspend or revoke permits for commercial and recreational fishermen found in violation. However, lawmakers removed the language regarding sale and trade and they substituted language that calls for the serious punishment for fishermen found in possession of fins.

Shark FinningConservation groups, such as Oceana, had been calling for an outright ban on the sale of fins. Oceana has contended that 73 million sharks are sold on the global market every year. Roughly, 70 percent of the most common shark species involved in this global fin trade are considered at risk for extinction.

Oceana recently conducted a study that found that sharks are far more valuable alive than dead. The study reported that divers contributed $221 million in revenue for the state in 2016 seeing sharks on dive excursion, which supported 3,700 jobs. By contrast, the selling of shark fins nationwide only generated $1 million.

A federal bill, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, has been introduced that would eliminate shark finning nationwide.

State Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, admitted the state bill did not go as far as some conservationists wanted it to, but called the bill a good compromise. “Although it is not a complete ban, because there are still some fishermen out there who still do the right thing, who harvest and use the whole shark, it does significantly increase the penalties,” Raschein said Wednesday.

Related Post  Spiny Lobster in the Florida Keys - Video

tohara@keysnews.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *
Email *
Website

WordPress Anti Spam by WP-SpamShield

© Keys Treasures Blog and FloridaKeysTreasures.com, 2000-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without following the Creative Commons license listed below is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keys Treasures Blog and/or FloridaKeysTreasures.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creative Commons License
FloridaKeysTreasures.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

%d bloggers like this: