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.
   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,
   35  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.
   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.