Will Texas Finally Ban Shark Fin Trade?
Texas state Rep. Eddie Lucio III has introduced a bill that would ban the sale, trade, purchase and transportation of shark fins in the state, and we're hoping that his fellow lawmakers will bite.
This nasty practice -- already banned federally, but full of fun loopholes -- could've been dealt with last session, when Senator Larry Taylor introduced a similar bill, but Taylor inexplicably backtracked, and his bill died in committee. (His fellow Republican Senator, Troy Fraser, also came out against the proposed ban.)
If you're not familiar with the practice of shark-finning, it essentially works like this: Douchebags catch a shark. Douchebags cut off the fin so that it can be used in a very expensive soup that is slurped up by other douchebags. The original douchebags then toss the shark back into the water, where it dies an agonizing death.
In a Humane Society of the United States press release, Lucio (D-Brownsville) stated, "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 press release points out that while shark finning is already illegal in U.S. waters, "fins that are imported and sold in Texas can come from sharks harvested in unsustainable foreign fisheries or finned in the open ocean. The majority of the global shark fin trade goes through China and Hong Kong, which receive their supply of fins from at least 80 countries, most of which have lax and ineffective shark finning bans. In recent years, after other states have banned trade of the product, Texas has emerged as a trade hub for shark fins."
Nine states have already passed similar legislation.
Katie Jarl, Texas state director of the HSUS, said in the press release, "With many coastal states already having eliminated the market for shark fins within their borders, it's time for Texas to end its involvement in the highly destructive global shark fin trade."
Our hat's off to Lucio and the HSUS. We hope the Legislature gets it right this time.