Florida Senate - 2012 SB 1002 By Senator Bennett 21-00929-12 20121002__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to shark fins; prohibiting the 3 possession, sale, trade, or distribution of shark 4 fins; providing a definition; providing for penalties 5 and the assessment of attorney fees and costs; 6 authorizing the Fish and Wildlife Conservation 7 Commission to adopt rules; providing an effective 8 date. 9 10 WHEREAS, sharks are one of the top predators in the marine 11 food chain and play an important role in our ocean’s ecosystem, 12 and 13 WHEREAS, sharks have characteristics that make them more 14 vulnerable to overfishing than most fish, and data from state, 15 federal, and international agencies show a decline in the shark 16 populations both locally and worldwide, and 17 WHEREAS, unlike other fish species, most sharks do not 18 reach sexual maturity until 7 to 12 years of age and then give 19 birth to only a small litter of young; thus, sharks cannot 20 rebuild their populations quickly once overfished, and 21 WHEREAS, the practice of shark finning, whereby a shark is 22 caught, the fin is cut off, and the shark is returned to the 23 water, causes millions of sharks to die a slow death each year 24 by starvation, predation, and drowning because sharks need to 25 keep moving in order to force water through their gills for 26 oxygen, and 27 WHEREAS, shark fin is the principal ingredient in certain 28 delicacies for which demand has risen, and 29 WHEREAS, fishers continue the practice of shark finning on 30 a massive scale despite state and federal laws to ban the 31 practice, and 32 WHEREAS, the state’s waters will suffer harm if the 33 practice of shark finning continues, NOW, THEREFORE, 34 35 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 36 37 Section 1. Possession, sale, trade, or distribution of 38 shark fins prohibited.— 39 (1) A person may not possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, 40 or distribute a shark fin in this state or on the waters of this 41 state. 42 (2) As used in this section, the term “shark fin” means the 43 raw or dried fin of a shark from which the shark carcass is 44 removed. 45 (3) A person who violates this section or any rule adopted 46 pursuant to this section is subject to: 47 (a) Seizure and forfeiture of the shark fin; and 48 (b) An administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not 49 more than $15,000. 50 51 In addition, the violator may be assessed administrative fees 52 and costs and attorney fees and costs. 53 (4) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may adopt 54 rules to administer this section. 55 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.