Bill banning sale of shark fins progresses to final House committee

House lawmakers on the Business and Professions Subcommittee heard strong public opinions on legislation that would ban the sale, import and export of shark fins Wednesday.

The legislation (HB 401), sponsored by Coconut Creek Democratic Rep. Kristin Jacobs, passed its second committee 13-2, with Republicans Reps. Randy Fine of South Brevard County and Jason Fischer of Jacksonville casting the no-votes.

Shark fining is the process of catching a shark, removing its fins and discarding the shark. Jacobs said shark finners usually drop the body back into the ocean, where it bleeds to death or drowns because it can no longer swim properly. 

The fins are then dried and ground into a powder and used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in China. About half of the dried shark fin market is brokered through Hong Kong. The Miami Herald in 2018 reported the city was a leader in the amount of shark fins imported from Hong Kong.

The practice of shark finning was banned in the U.S. in 2000. And state law prohibits the mass capturing of sharks and only keeping the fins. But the trade of shark fins is legal and the fins are being imported through Florida ports

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