Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Texas Bill to Ban Shark Fins Up For Hearing

Photo by KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images

A fisherman cuts the fins off of a shark at the fish market in Abobodoume, a popular quarter of Abidjan, on April 12, 2008. A new bill being considered by the Texas legislature would make the market for shark fins illegal.

The State Senate Natural Resources Committee will discuss banning the sale and transfer shark fins at a hearing Tuesday.

Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, filed SB 572 as a companion to a bill filed in the House, HB 852, by Representative Eddie Lucio, D-Harlingen.

As StateImpact Texas reported recently, the bills would ban anyone from buying or selling shark fins in Texas:

Rep. Lucio’s bill, HB 852, will outlaw the sale, purchase and possession of shark fins. The legislation also outlaws, in most cases, the possession of almost any fish, or shark, that has had its fins cut off. The offense would be a Texas Parks and Wildlife Class A or B misdemeanor.

Shark fin trade bans are already in place in five other states including California, Hawaii and Illinois. The practice of finning sharks was made illegal under the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 and Shark Conversation Act of 2010.

Last week the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) finished a four-day operation to combat illegal fishing of Texas waters by Mexican fishing boats called ‘launchas.’ While the effort, known as Operation Shark Fin, did not specifically aim to stop shark finning in the Gulf of Mexico, some sharks may have been spared.

“The ‘launcha’ crews use gill nets and long lines to catch whatever they can, including many shark species and red drum,” Grahame Jones of the TPWD Law Enforcement Division said in a release.

Olivia Gordon is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas.


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