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Kristin Jacobs aims to end shark fin trade in Florida

Can’t you see them circlin’ round?

The widely condemned practice of shark finning has been illegal in U.S. waters for close to two decades. But it remains legal to import and export shark fins out of Florida, so many a poacher flies their catch in and out of Miami.

A bill filed by state Rep. Kristin Jacobs would outlaw the fin trade entirely within the state of Florida. The legislation (HB 401) would explicitly shut down any and all commerce of the kind.

“Notwithstanding any other law, the import, export, and sale of shark fins is prohibited and nothing in this section authorizes such activities,” the bill reads now.

Jacobs has yet to further detail punishment for those in the trade. Of course, the fins of sharks remain a coveted good because of high value in the Far East. The organization Shark Truth says the parts go regularly for $650 a kilogram in China, where shark fin soup is considered a fine delicacy that sells for hundreds or thousands of dollars per bowl.

The Guy Harvey Research Institute, meanwhile, figures the population of some sharks species has been devastated by poachers. Oceanic whitefin sharks have seen their population decline to 5 percent of their pre-exploitation-era population, according to famed oceans activist Guy Harvey.

Notably, thirteen other states have already banned the trade of shark fins in and out of their jurisdiction. But Florida, a coastal state with significant shark populations in its waters on the east and west, has not.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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