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Stakeholders Push Wildlife Regulators To Pick A Side On Sharkfin Ban

Cloneofsnake via wikimedia commons
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Credit Cloneofsnake via wikimedia commons
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Advocates are urging Florida wildlife officials to back federal legislation banning the sale of shark fins.  But some think prohibition could be counterproductive.

Mote Marine Lab researcher Bob Hueter vehemently opposes shark finning—the practice of cutting off the fins and throwing the animal back into the water.  He says Florida prohibited finning in 1992, and he applauds legislation this year imposing stiffer penalties. 

But Hueter worries banning the fins themselves could do more harm than good.

“By making a commercially valuable product illegal,” he says, “a domestic fin ban could actually lead to the destruction of the model fishery that we’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last 25 years.”

Heuter believes shark fishers play an important role in conservation, and prohibiting the sale of fins could put them out of business. 

Environmental groups like Oceana point to the ban on ivory, contending US action will drive other countries to stop finning.

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Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.
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