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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2012 03:54 PM
From: Senator Richard L. Alloway, II and Sen. Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Banning Shark Fins in Pennsylvania
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to ban the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins. Shark fins are very valuable for use in shark fin soup. The practice of shark finning, however, is brutal and wasteful and is contributing significantly to the extinction of an important ocean predator.

Sharks are in danger of extinction and their decline poses a real threat to our ocean ecosystem. It is estimated that shark populations along the east coast are down 90% from their historic levels. As a top predator, sharks maintain the balance of species required for a healthy ocean. They are slow to mature and reproduce, and as a consequence their populations cannot recover quickly from overfishing. Shark finning consists of catching a shark, cutting off its fin and or tail and then dumping the animal back in the water to starve or suffocate.

While shark finning is illegal under federal law, the possession of shark fins is not. The market for shark fins is what drives this brutal practice and the overfishing that accompanies it. Pennsylvania can help impact the demand for shark fins and thereby reduce this practice by banning the possession and sale of shark fins and tails within our borders. The entire West coast and Hawaii have already banned this unsustainable practice, and several east coast states are currently poised to act.

This legislation will be modeled after SB1578 of 2012.

Introduced as SB340