RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – A change.org petition is asking the State of Florida to make it a crime to possess, sell, trade, purchase, or distribute shark fins. Local professional shark diver Ryan Walton says the petition is a good first step.
“The act of shark finning is illegal now,” Walton explained. “What's not illegal is they can bring the shark back to the dock cut off those fins and export them to China.”
The fins are shipped overseas and served up in some restaurants as a delicacy.
“That is the money in killing our sharks. Soup. An odorless and tasteless soup.”
Walton says harvesting shark fins happens right here in our local waters.
“It's devastating to think one of the biggest problems is right here in South Florida
What makes it legal here is fishers bring the sharks ashore and then cut off the fins. But it's a practice Walton says has a negative impact on our ecosystem.
“Sharks have been proven to flee an area when they can smell their own dead,” he said. “Once they've wiped out the ecosystems top predators, meaning sharks, everything below them is going to start to decline as well. We are on pace to see sharks starting to go extinct within 30 to 40 years. And if that starts to happen in the future of our oceans is truly in jeopardy.”
At least eight other states have banned the sale of shark fins. To sign the petition click here.