Florida Backs Away From Shark Fin Ban

Categories: Review Debut
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While researching for this week's review, I found resources at Oceana.org, a non-profit international organization that strives to help protect the ocean and its creatures. On its blog, I found this piece, following a Fort Lauderdale event:
On a more serious note, the evening focused on sharks and the need for Floridians to fight for their protection. Legislation in Florida to stop the shark fin trade has stalled, putting a kink in Oceana's efforts to stop the practice of shark finning and the trade of fins, which still legally feeds the high demand in many states.
Readers expressed dismay following a shark fin soup debacle at Silver Pond, in which I reported guilt over eating a dish that's harvested at such a high cost. To harvest fins, ships trolling Central and South America, Taiwan, Indonesia, or Spain catch sharks, slice off fins and toss bodies back -- to the tune of 73 million a year.

"It is time Florida joined the Pacific movement to protect sharks form finning by stopping the trade," wrote Dave McGuire in the comments, a member of Sea Stewards.

While Florida briefly considered joining California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii in banning the sale of shark fins in this state, the bill was pulled from the legislative agenda by the senate last month, confirms Beth Lowell, Oceana's Campaign Director. Florida joined New York, Maryland, and Illinois in considering a ban. The remaining states still have bills in consideration.

Shark finning elicits such strong emotions that many around the country expressed outrage last month, when President Obama visited a dim sum place that still serves shark fin soup during a swing through San Francisco. It was careless, many expressed, since he was the one who signed the Shark Conservation Act into law last January. Not to mention, the restaurant, according to Jonathan Kaufmann of SF Weekly, is nothing to write home about. Shark fins can be sold at restaurants in California until July of 2013.

Oceana also offers education about a range of issues affecting waters closer to home. Read my findings in part one: last week's column or part two that can be found here.


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5 comments
Kirsten massebeau
Kirsten massebeau

Only  in Florida would they have nerve to do the politically incorrect thing and turn away from this desperately needed ban to save sharks and our oceans before it is too late. Florida legislators you are showing your colors!

speakyourmind
speakyourmind

i think this ban is quite ridiculous. when they say that 73 million sharks are being killed, they are not only being killed for their fins. people eat and use the rest of the shark (shark steak, their bones are being used in cosmetics) . Since you're going to be killing the shark anyway, why would you just throw the fin away and waste it? people have to get it in their heads that not supporting the ban does not automatically mean that they condone finning; these two acts are not synonymous.

David McGuire
David McGuire

As a community of divers and fishermen, Floridians of all people should recognize the importance of sharks to their local marine ecosystems.  But the real problem lies in the ports.  Shark fins are coming through US ports and re-exporting to Asia.  These fins come from Central America and Mexican waters and it is highly probable that they are finned sharks. Shark fins sequenced in San Francisco Chinatown included species from sub and tropical waters including endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, a shark that is now protected in Florida waters but poached elsewhere in the Galapagos and Cocos Islands.  Floridians can help protect ocean ecosystems and wildlife far beyond their own waters by making shark fin illegal.thank you

David McGuireDirector, Sea Stewards seastewards.org

freakerdude
freakerdude

Let's start by not patronizing these places....like Mr. Zhang's Chinese in Palm Beach Gardens that serves sharkfin soup for $14 per person.

Defrowe
Defrowe

Unfortunately, that's really not the case. Many are thrown back after their fins are cut off. The meat is generally not eaten and the boats dont want to take up space with the bodies. They want more troon for find our more valuable fish. Check out "Shark Bait, Gordon Ramsay" on You Tube for good info. Also shark are high in mercury so shark fin soup is also a health hazard as would be shark meat.

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