Texas House OKs ban on shark fin sales; plan stalled in ’13

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has voted to criminalize the sale of shark fins amid no shortage of “Jaws” jokes.

Shark fins are used in Chinese soup eaten commonly in some parts of Texas. Lawmakers voted Wednesday to make possessing fins punishable by fines and 180 days maximum in jail.

A final, technical vote sends the measure to the Senate.

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Federal law prohibits shark finning, or severing fins and discarding shark carcasses.

Lawmakers circled a floor microphone, made lawyer jokes and played the theme from the 1975 thriller “Jaws,” before approving Brownsville Democratic Rep. Eddie Lucio III’s bill.

Lucio said sharks are “extremely important to the ecosystem and the fisheries.”

Nine other states already ban shark fin sales. The House passed a similar bill in 2013, but it stalled in the Senate.