Florida Backs Away From Shark Fin Ban
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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