“Since 2015, Miami has led the nation in the number of shark fins imported from Hong Kong, likely caused by an increasing number of import bans in other states. According to a review by the nonprofit Oceana, the number of fins arriving at PortMiami from Hong Kong, the historic center of the fin trade, was dwindling between 2010 and 2014. But after California and New York banned imports in 2011 and 2013, fin shipments began rising.

“We’ve seen a kind of a whack-a-mole situation,” said Oceana marine scientist Mariah Pfleger. “When one place gets blocked off, they move to another state and the trade shifts around.”

Twelve states, not including Florida, currently ban imports.”

“Oceana is now pushing for a federal ban on shark fins, arguing that the U.S., which imports only a small fraction of the world’s fins, should lead by example in a global trade rife with brutal butcherings and blamed for killing 73 million sharks annually.”

“Although the practice of slicing shark fins off at sea — called shark finning — is outlawed in the U.S., shark fins can still be legally harvested from sharks brought onshore or imported from countries without finning bans. It’s also likely that lax regulations in Malaysia and Hong Kong, which import more than 350 times as many fins as the U.S., mean fins from endangered sharks are winding up in American markets.

“If we hold our fisheries to very stringent regulations but we still allow imports from countries that don’t have very stringent or environmentally conscious fishing regulations, then we’re protecting our environment but exploiting other environments,” said Neil Hammerschlag, a shark expert at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

“The bottom line is too many species are being removed,” he said.”

SOURCE: Miami now nation’s top importer of shark fins. Many states have banned the product.