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Scientist Says Banning Shark Fin Trade Won't Save Sharks

Shark fins in Hong Kong


The practice of shark finning — removing a shark’s dorsal fin and discarding the animal’s body back into the water — has been in the political spotlight in recent months.

A new state law took effect this month that increases penalties for those caught engaging in the practice, and a bill to ban the shark fin trade is currently being considered in Congress. That measure has the backing of eight co-sponsors from Florida.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, a study finds that banning the sale of shark fins in the U.S. wouldn’t actually help save sharks. The author of that study is the senior scientist and director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, Dr. Robert Hueter.

Hueter joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about his recently published study in the scientific journal Marine Policy. He also talks about Mote's ongoing series of studies exploring whether or not sharks survive after being caught and released.  The conversation begins with a look at the growing effort to ban the practice of shark finning.

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.