The bipartisan New Jersey shark fin trade ban has advanced through the Senate and is progressing through the State Assembly. Residents of New Jersey are asked to contact their Assemblyman and SUPPORT ASSEMBLY BILL No. 4845.
“Dear Assemblyman, As a New Jersey resident I urge you to protect ocean health by voting yes on Assembly Bill 4845, the New Jersey Shark Fin Trade Elimination Bill. Sharks are threatened globally primarily due to the sale and trade of shark fin to supply shark fin soup. 100 million sharks are slaughtered annually in the world oceans, including US waters and this unsustainable trade is devastating shark populations and placing the future of the oceans at risk. I appreciate you time and support for this important law that will protect fisheries and fish.”
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ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
ASSEMBLY, No. 4845
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: MARCH 18, 2019
The Assembly Appropriations Committee reports favorably
Assembly Bill No. 4845.
This bill prohibits: (1) the sale, trade, or distribution, or the
offering for sale, of any shark fin; and (2) the possession of any shark
fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing.
The bill’s prohibitions do not apply to lawfully obtained shark fins
possessed, sold, traded, or distributed for scientific research or
educational purposes, or to lawfully obtained smooth dogfish or spiny
dogfish fins. The bill allows commercial and recreational fishermen to
possess shark fins from sharks if obtained lawfully in a manner
consistent with the fisherman’s license or permit. Under the bill, a
person is authorized, until January 1 of the year next following the
date of enactment of the bill, to possess, sell, trade, or distribute, or
offer for sale, any shark fin that is in that person’s possession on or
before the date of enactment of this bill.
A person who violates the bill’s prohibitions against the
possession, sale, trade, distribution, or offer for sale of shark fins is
subject: (1) for a first offense, to a civil administrative penalty of not
less than $5,000 or more than $15,000; (2) for a second offense, to a
civil administrative penalty of not less than $15,000 or more than
$35,000; and (3) for a third or subsequent offense, to a civil
administrative penalty of not less than $35,000 or more than $55,000,
or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. Each day
during which a violation continues constitutes an additional, separate,
and distinct offense. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection
may assess an additional penalty for an amount up to the value of the
economic gain from violating the bill’s provisions. Shark fins
possessed in violation of the bill’s provisions, and vessels, vehicles,
equipment, or other property utilized in the commission of a second or
subsequent violation of the bill’s provisions, are subject to seizure and
forfeiture by a summary proceeding. Shark fins determined by a court
to be possessed, sold, traded, distributed, or offered for sale in
violation of the provisions of the bill would be destroyed. The bill also
provides that a person or business holding a commercial or
recreational fishing license or permit that violates the provisions of the
bill would have their license or permit suspended or revoked.
As reported, Assembly Bill No. 4845 is identical to Senate Bill No.
2905 (1R), as also reported by the committee on this date.
The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimates that the bill
will result in indeterminate, likely nominal, annual State expenditure
increases arising from new enforcement and administrative
responsibilities for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
related to the new prohibition against the possession, sale, distribution,
trade, and offer for sale of shark fins. Considering that a third or
subsequent violation of the prohibition will be a crime of the fourth
degree, the bill can also be expected to periodically increase the
expenditures of the Department of Law and Public Safety, the
Judiciary, and the Department of Corrections from prosecuting, trying,
and possibly incarcerating violators.
The OLS estimates further that the bill will increase annual State
revenue collections by an indeterminate, likely nominal, amount from
the assessment of civil administrative penalties by the DEP, the
imposition of criminal fines by the courts, and the sale of any
confiscated property used in the violation of the prohibition
established by the bill.
The OLS lacks the informational basis to determine the number of
violations that the DEP may discover in any given year, but available
data suggest that the acts prohibited by the bill are not highly prevalent
in New Jersey. Consequently, the fiscal impacts of the bill can be
anticipated to be nominal in a typical year.