Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.
These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.
Each week The Sentinel will highlight one of the bills that has not received widespread attention.
About the bill
There are six restaurants in Pennsylvania that serve shark fin soup, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.
Five of those restaurants are in Philadelphia and one is in Pittsburgh, according to the wildlife advocacy organization’s website.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Shippensburg, and Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware County, aims to bring that number down to zero.
The two have sponsored Senate Bill 577, which bans the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins.
The practice of shark finning, something the two wrote in a co-sponsorship letter as being “brutal and wasteful,” is currently illegal under federal law. However, the possession, sale and distribution of fins is not.
“Shark finning consists of catching a shark, cutting off its fin and or tail and then dumping the animal back in the water to starve or suffocate,” according to a co-sponsorship letter from Leach and Alloway.
SB 577 makes it a separate summary offense for every shark fin sold, possessed or distributed.
“The market for shark fins is what drives this brutal practice and the over fishing that accompanies it,” the co-sponsorship letter stated. “Pennsylvania can help impact the demand for shark fins and thereby reduce this practice by banning the possession and sale of shark fins and tails within our borders.”
There are 10 states, including Maryland, Delaware and New York, with similar bans, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.