The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed the Kristen Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act. This is a real victory for conservationists, as the act bans the shark fin trade in the state. As of October 1, Florida becomes the 15th state to ban the trade of shark fins. This is significant because it used to serve as a hub for the United States shark fin trade.
The Kristen Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act, named after Florida Representative Kristen Jacobs, will go into effect on October 1, 2020. Jacobs sponsored the House version of the bill, but unfortunately, she never saw it through to fruition. She died of cancer only one month before the measure was approved.
According to Shark Allies’ Executive Director, Stephani Brendl, “Making it through all six committees and ending up with a victory for sharks is something most people believed would never happen. 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.”
Although there are many benefits to this measure, it does not stop all shark fin activity. It still allows for the sale of shark fins, provided the commercial fishermen harvested sharks from a vessel that held a valid permit on January 1, 2020. Similar allowances are made to export and sell shark fins by wholesale dealers who had a federal Atlantic shark dealer permit as of January 1, 2020.
Hawaii was the first state to start the banning of the shark fin trade back in 2010. After the ban was implemented in Hawaii, 14 other states in the United States followed suit. In addition, Canada and many Pacific island nations also banned the sale of shark fins last year.
The Animal Welfare Institute reports that there may be up to 73 million sharks killed annually for their fins. In many cases, the sharks are thrown back to the ocean to suffer and die after their fins are cut off.
Shark Allies gives thanks to their lobbyists, along with a special thanks to representative Kristen Jacobs.
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