Ending the Trade in Florida
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN FLORIDA?
12 U.S. States have decided to move ahead with a fin trade prohibitions. Florida is the ONLY state where two attempts to pass a bill have failed, despite the fact that it is now the hub for the fin trade in the US. Miami Herald: Miami now nation's top importer of shark fins.
Although shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters (Shark Conservation Act of 2010), and in the State of Florida, the act is still occurring Miami Herald - Butchered shark fins seized...
Another Miami Herald article explains the situation in the region in detail: "...Florida now ranks as the largest importer of shark fins in the country, according to Oceana. And shark fins from Central America often pass through Miami International Airport on their way to Hong Kong, according to data supplied by the private trade data aggregate ImportGenius. It wasn’t always that way. For years, Los Angeles and then Houston were the transit hubs for Central American fins. But as Texas and California tightened restrictions, the exports moved to Florida. Between 2015 and the middle of 2017, Costa Rican companies alone moved 180,000 pounds of dried shark fins through MIA on their way to Asia using two small logistics companies. Those fins were valued at almost $2.5 million dollars. It’s nearly impossible to know if any of the shark fins flown through MIA were from endangered species. But a 2017 independent analysis of shark fin clippings imported to Hong Kong suggests that a third of the fins may come from internationally protected species....."
Read the complete article "War on Sharks - How rogue fishing fleets plunder the ocean's top predator."
Income from dive tourism is far greater than that of shark fishing. And it is a renewable resource that can continue for many years to come, as long as you have abundant reef and marine life. Divers are especially keen to see sharks. Sharks are not only important to maintain a healthy reef and fish populations, they also benefit the economy. A live shark is worth far more than a dead shark that gets sold for meat or fins. Internationally, shark watchers spend an estimated $314 million on shark ecotourism every year, and researchers expect that to double to $780 million in 20 years.
An independent study commissioned by Oceana showed that the value of Florida shark diving in 2016 is more than 200 times the value of shark fin exports for the entire U.S. in 2015.
Direct expenditures for shark encounters in the diving industry totaled more than $221 million and fueled more than 3,700 jobs in Florida alone. Read more about this in this Keys Weekly article
florida affects the National proposals
189 businesses and organizations from Florida, including 100 dive-businesses are in support of the Federal Shark Fin Elimination Act in Congress. Unfortunately, the main opposition seems to be coming from officials in the State of Florida, with their proposal of a "Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act" which would keep legal fins on the market and therefore continue to enable the global trade.
It is clear that most people do not want their home State to take part in the trade of fins. The problem is that the public has been unaware of this severity of the issue and is usually not asked when its time to make rules for fisheries management.