Teen writes legislation to stop shark finning

Thomas Ponce, 13, worked with state legislators

CASSELBERRY, Fla. - At 13, Thomas Ponce is already a successful lobbyist. A bill he helped write to put a stop to the practice of shark finning was just introduced to the Florida legislature.

Shark finning is the practice of cutting off a shark's fins and usually leaving the shark to bleed to death.

"It's a horrible way to die. It's a horrible thing that these people are doing for profit," said Ponce.

Ponce says the bill is aimed at keeping shark fins and shark fin products out of the state. Shark fins are most often used for shark fin soup, which is considered an Asian delicacy.

The teen worked with state legislators in his district to file the bill, which will have to go through committees before making it to the House or Senate floors. State Sen. David Simmons and Rep. Mike Clelland worked with Ponce on the bill.

"It'll ban the sale, distribution, possession and trade of shark fins and shark fin products in the state of Florida," Ponce said.

Ponce founded his own lobbying organization, Lobby for Animals, and says he will work to ensure the shark finning bill's passing.

His organization also helps teach anyone how to lobby, including kids.

"They may be 12 or 13 or 11 or 8, so be it. They can still make change in this world. They do not have to be silent about the issues they see," Ponce said.

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