In a major victory, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bill SB680 into law, making Florida the 15th state to officially ban the shark fin trade. The new law, which comes into effect on October 1st of this year, bans the import and export of shark fins in the state, which was once a hub for the deplorable trade in the United States.
The bill was recently renamed the Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act, after Florida Representative Kristin Jacobs, who sponsored the House version of the bill. Sadly, Jacobs passed away after a years-long battle with cancer, one month after the Legislature approved the measure.
“Making it through all six committees and ending up with a victory for sharks is something most people believed would never happen,” said Stefanie Brendl, Shark Allies’ executive director, in a statement. “There is more work to be done, but ending the import of fins immediately is a massive accomplishment and a bold first step in the right direction.”
Unfortunately, the newly-signed measure does permit the “sale of shark fins by any commercial fisherman who harvested sharks from a vessel holding a valid federal shark fishing permit on January 1, 2020.” It also allows “the export and sale of shark fins by any wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.”
The movement to ban the shark fin trade began in Hawaii in 2010 when Brendl spearheaded the first-of-its-kind legislation that was introduced by Hawaii Senator Clayton Hee. After Hawaii implemented a ban on the trade, sale, and possession of shark fins, 14 states in the U.S. followed along with many Pacific Island Nations. Canada also banned the shark fin trade.
According to Animal Welfare Institute, as many as 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins alone. Horrifically, after the fins are cut off, most of the sharks are then tossed back into their ocean home to suffer a slow death.
Shark Allies thanked their lobbyists, Senator Travis Hutson, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fin Alliance, and the #NoFinFL partner organizations.
In conclusion, Shark Allies stated they wanted to thank the ocean warrior herself, Representative Kristin Jacobs.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg