by Alex Larson →
Buying a dead animal flowing in a jar of preservatives usually does not sound like a good gift but yet sharks in jars continue to be a staple in many Florida gift shops across the state and it looks like Miami Beach Commissioners agree with us.
City commissioners last week have passed a resolution asking merchants to stop selling the grotesque souvenir immediately. It is an absolute shame that this request has to be put in to begin with put the fact that this is not against the law is the real concern.
City Commissioner Mark Samuelian said in a statement, “Miami Beach stands for a lot of things: We’re very pro-environment; we really care about wildlife and all the animals. And I don’t think having dead species like alligators and sharks — some with the label ‘Miami Beach’ on them — is consistent with that.”
The Florida Wildlife commission is the government body that regulates marine life in the state therefore, the most city commissioners could do is ask shop owners to remove them from shelfs. In the resolution, the commissioners condemned the practice by calling it a “disturbing and unsavory practice” and a “grotesque enterprise motivated by profits”.
The city commissioners also released a second resolution that calls for the state to step in and enact stricter regulations on the fishing and harvesting of shark and alligator species.
“I have seen some of these things in tourist shops,” says Vice Mayor Michael Góngora, who cosponsored both resolutions. “I’ve always thought it was gross, personally. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to buy this or have this. But I guess people do.”
The sharks are typically brought in as a product of commercial fishing bycatch but reports have also pointed towards sharks being born in man-made pools with the purpose of being killed for selling. When a pregnant shark is captured, the fisherman caught open the pregnant shark to reveal shark pups which are then sold to place in jars. The most common sharks found are dusky sharks and spiny dogfish but other species have been known to be placed in jars to sell.