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  H.B. No. 1579
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins or products derived
  from shark fins; creating a criminal offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 66.216, Parks and Wildlife Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 66.216.  POSSESSION OF HEADED OR TAILED FISH. (a)  No
  person may possess a finfish of any species taken from coastal
  water, except broadbill swordfish, shark, or [and] king mackerel,
  that has the head [or tail] removed unless the fish has been finally
  processed and delivered to the final destination or to a certified
  wholesale or retail dealer.
         (b)  No person may possess a finfish of any species taken
  from coastal water, except broadbill swordfish or king mackerel,
  that has the tail removed unless the fish has been finally processed
  and delivered to the final destination or to a certified wholesale
  or retail dealer.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter C, Chapter 66, Parks and Wildlife
  Code, is amended by adding Section 66.2161 to read as follows:
         Sec. 66.2161.  SALE OR PURCHASE OF SHARK FINS. (a) In this
  section:
               (1)  "Shark" means any species of the subclass
  Elasmobranchii.
               (2)  "Shark fin" means the fresh and uncooked, or
  cooked, frozen, dried, or otherwise processed, detached fin or tail
  of a shark.
         (b)  A person may not buy or offer to buy, sell or offer to
  sell, possess for the purpose of sale, transport, or ship for the
  purpose of sale, barter, or exchange a shark fin regardless of where
  the shark was taken or caught.
         (c)  A person may buy or offer to buy, sell or offer to sell,
  possess for the purpose of sale, transport, or ship for the purpose
  of sale, barter, or exchange a shark carcass that retains all of its
  fins naturally attached to the carcass through some portion of
  uncut skin.
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the department may
  issue a permit for the possession, transport, sale, or purchase of
  shark fins for a bona fide scientific research purpose.
         (e)  When a person is charged with violating this section,
  the warden or other peace officer shall seize and hold the shark fin
  as evidence. Notwithstanding Section 12.109, on a final court
  ruling, the department shall destroy the shark fin.
         (f)  A person may possess a shark fin if:
               (1)  the person holds the appropriate state or federal
  license or permit authorizing the taking or landing of a shark for
  recreational or commercial purposes;
               (2)  the shark fin is taken from a shark that the person
  has taken or landed; and
               (3)  the shark fin is taken in a manner consistent with
  the person's license.
         SECTION 3.  Section 66.218, Parks and Wildlife Code, is
  amended by adding Subsections (c) and (d) to read as follows:
         (c)  A person who violates Section 66.2161 or a proclamation
  adopted under that section commits an offense that is a Class B
  Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor.
         (d)  If it is shown at the trial for a violation of Section
  66.2161 or a proclamation adopted under that section that the
  defendant has been convicted within five years before the trial
  date of a violation of that section, on conviction the defendant
  shall be punished for a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor.
         SECTION 4.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act.
  An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect on the date the offense was committed,
  and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For
  purposes of this section, an offense was committed before the
  effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurred
  before that date.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect July 1, 2016.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1579 was passed by the House on April
  16, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 116, Nays 28, 2 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1579 was passed by the Senate on May
  27, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 24, Nays 7.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor