SeaWorld Supports New Step to End Shark Finning Trade in Florida

February 22, 2017

Remember when SeaWorld, the Humane Society of the United States and others partnered in a national effort to end the brutal practice of shark finning? Those efforts are still going strong, and others are joining us in the fight and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

If you aren’t familiar with the term shark finning let us catch you up to speed. It is a cruel and inhumane practice that is having an unsustainable impact on shark populations in every ocean. The practice of shark finning is driven mostly by the demand for fins used in Shark Fin Soup - a delicacy in many regions, like Indonesia. 

Research indicates that this massive overfishing results in the killing of upwards of 100 million sharks EACH YEAR - 73 million of those are for the fin trade alone. Scientists have warned that existing populations cannot sustain this level of exploitation. The time for action is now.

Though shark finning is prohibited by federal and state law - there continues to be a demand coming from the U.S., which fuels the practice in foreign seas where the same bans are not enforced. And members of the Florida House and Senate have stepped up to find much needed solutions.

Florida Senator Travis Hutson, (R-Elkton) and Representative Alex Miller, (R-Sarasota), filed a bill that would crack down on the sale and possession of shark fins and shark tails in Florida. 

The bills state, in part, that “sharks are critical to the health of the ocean's ecosystems” and identifies Florida as a market for the trade of shark fins.

It continues, "shark finning is the practice of shark finning, where a shark is caught, its fins cut off, and the animal dumped back into the water to starve to death, drown from lack of oxygen that would otherwise be forced through its gills from constant movement, or be slowly be eaten by other fish is a cruel practice that causes tens of millions of sharks to die each year.”

If passed, commercial and recreational fishers found in violation of the bill’s terms would face a suspension or loss of their licenses or permits.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species has estimated that a quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. It’s obvious that these animals are in danger, and this is an important step in putting an end to shark finning. Our commitment to strengthening state laws to end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning is as strong as ever, and we continue to make important steps to find solutions. It’s time that we all take a stand to protect sharks, and the other animals in the world’s oceans.


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