We Must Stop The Trade of Shark Fins
Even though the fin trade is not the only problem, it is by far one of the biggest issues we are facing when it comes to saving sharks. Some shark populations have declined by more than 90% in recent decades due to overfishing, and this fishing of sharks is mostly profitable because of the high value of fins. Some of the species involved are being driven to the brink of extinction. Whether it is the cruel act of finning or the legal market for shark fins, at the core of it all is greed; to make money off a product that is valued as a status symbol, a tasteless bowl of soup.
The movement of shark fin bans started with the Hawaii bill in 2010, spearheaded by Shark Allies’ Stefanie Brendl and introduced by Hawaiian Senator Clayton Hee. This bill was the first of its kind, a ban on the trade, sale and possession of shark fins. Following Hawaii’s lead, 12 other U.S. states, many Pacific Island Nations and all of Canada have since banned the shark fin trade. Today, Florida is the hub of the shark fin trade for the United States. Successful passing of Florida and a federal bill (Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act) will not be the end of the fight. The grand vision is that this momentum will carry on to many other countries.
Our current #StopTheFinTrade campaign is focused in Florida, #NoFinFL.
Despite the act of “finning” being illegal, or requirements to “land sharks whole” with their fins attached, the fin trade continues to thrive in the United States, Florida currently being the hub. Both provisions leave the door wide open to the continued targeting of sharks for their fins. As long as fins can be freely sold and traded, the horrific act of finning will continue. Any state that allows the transport of fins through their ports and allows fins to be sold inadvertently also supports the global trade of a product that is decimating sharks around the world.
Florida is surrounded by the sea and it’s tourism and fishing economy depends on the ocean. Most citizens are shocked to find out that their own home state continues to allow, and enable the trade of fins. And most of them vehemently oppose this and want it stopped. This is why a bi-partisan effort to stop it on a state level is underway. Florida has the opportunity to be a shining example for conservation and protection of sharks, rather than a participant in the devastating fin trade. Florida’s leadership would also empower and strengthen the success of national efforts (Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act), currently championed by Oceana and other national conservation leaders (#FinBanNow).