Pennsylvania Shark Fin Bill
Senators Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, and Rich Alloway, R-Franklin County, are re-introducing legislation that would ban the sale and possession of shark fins in Pennsylvania. Senator Leach introduced a bill in the last legislative session but it went nowhere. Shark finning became illegal in the USA with the Shark Conservation Act, but the law has a significant loophole which allows shark fins to be imported, sold and possessed. The Pennsylvania legislation aims to close that loophole, as eight other states have already done: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington.
“Sharks are an integral part of the food chain and a majestic addition to marine wildlife, and they deserve our respect and protection," said Senator Leach. “I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will act with haste in passing this bill.”
Senator Alloway, Chair of the Senate’s Game and Fisheries Committee, said when Leach approached him about introducing the bill, he immediately agreed. “I’m an outdoorsman and a sportsman, and to me it is absolutely outrageous what this shark finning is all about,” he said. “They pull up a shark, cut its fins off and throw it back in the water where it essentially is left to die. That goes against everything a sportsman stands for!"
Sharks play a critical role in maintaining the health of the ocean. The demand for shark fins, an ingredient in shark fin soup, has led to drastic declines in shark populations and is disrupting the ocean’s ecosystem. The soup, a costly dish, has no nutritional value and the fins add no taste; it is simply a status symbol. Ocean City Restaurant in Philadelphia began substituting imitation shark fin in the dish about a year ago, selling it for $15 and $60 a bowl.
Alloway and Leach's bill -- S-340 -- would make it a summary offense for every shark fin possessed but provides for some exceptions. Click on the link below to view S-340.