Texas Shark Fin Ban Breezes Through House & Senate

posted: 05/29/15
by: Danny Clemens
Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

A measure to prohibit the sale of shark fins is on the way to Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his signature, the final step in the Texas legislative process.

Sponsored by Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Lucio III (and heavily supported by his father, Senator Eddie Lucio), the legislation creates a criminal offense "relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins or products derived from shark fins". The proposed act would go into effect on July 1, 2016.

According to The Texas Tribune, the measure breezed through the Senate, passing with a 27-4 vote.

"Sharks are the top predators in our waters and serve a vital purpose within that ecosystem," Rep. Lucio told The Humane Society of the United States earlier this year. "Shark-finning is an inhumane act banned on the Federal level, but we have to make sure Texas is not encouraging that illegal act by restricting what can be done with those fins."

The trade of shark fins is already illegal in nine other states (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York and Massachusetts), but conservation organization Oceana estimates that half of the shark fin trade in the country is funneled through Texas.

Shark fins are a highly valued commodity in Asia; they are an essential ingredient in shark fin soup, and have traditional medicinal applications. Shark finning is a highly controversial practice -- some shark finners rip the fins off of sharks and release the incapacitated animals back into the ocean, unable to swim. The Save our Seas Foundation estimates that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually as part of the international shark trade.

Click here to read the full text of the bill



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