New Jersey recently became the latest state to sign a law prohibiting the sale, trade, distribution and offering for sale of shark fins and the possession of a shark fin that has been separated from a shark that is caught and released. That’s great news, according to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), which is currently supporting passage of a similar bill in Florida.
“We continue to push this legislation in Florida and nationally,” said Greg Jacoski, executive director of the GHOF. “While federal law and Florida law already ban the act of removing a shark’s fins at sea, the import and sale of shark fins from elsewhere remains legal in several states. The amount and types of fins that are traded is largely unknown and unregulated and includes species of sharks that are endangered. By participating in the trade of these fins, Florida is complicit in propagating the destructive and inhumane practice of shark finning.”
Unfortunately, Florida is now the nation’s leading hub for the sale, import and transport of ill-gotten shark fins. Florida HB 401 and SB 680, both legislative bills introduced in late 2019, would ban the import, export and sale of shark fins in the state, which the GHOF vigorously supports. The Florida House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee and the Business and Professions Subcommittee have already approved HB 401. There is only one more committee for it to go through.
“This is about stopping the unsustainable harvest of sharks on a global scale,” added Jacoski. “Floridians will still be able to fish for sharks as long as they don’t sell the fins.”
Research from Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) determined that fins from upwards of 73 million sharks end up in the global market annually. This demand fuels the act of shark finning. The dramatic and ongoing depletion of Florida natural resources continues to negatively impact the state’s economy. Offshore anglers, recreational/commercial fishing, dive shop and tour boat operators and related Florida businesses will be hurt if the depletion of this vital natural asset continues.
About the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. The GHOF also funds affiliated researchers working to better understand our ocean ecosystem and educators helping to foster the next era of marine conservationists. The GHOF will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a properly balanced ocean ecosystem. www.GHOF.org
About NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute: Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and NSU. Please visit nova.edu/ocean/ghri/index.html for more information.