March 2, 2011
Help Us End the Unspeakably Cruel Shark Fin Trade
Shark finning is the gruesome practice of cutting off a shark’s fins while it is still alive. The shark is then tossed back into the water to slowly bleed to death or drown. The fact that at least 73 million sharks — many of whom are endangered species — suffer this unspeakable fate each year is astonishing.
California’s market for shark fins is lucrative and sustained by a demand for shark fin soup. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that San Diego and Los Angeles are the two top entry points for shark fins in the United States.
Assembly members Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) have introduced Assembly Bill 376 to prohibit any person from possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading or distributing shark fins. Modeled after a landmark shark fin ban passed in Hawaii last year, the bill recognizes that one cannot affectively protect sharks without eliminating the market for shark fins.
In a recent press conference, Fong stated: “The demand for shark fin is growing and the worldwide shark population is depleting to extinction rates. I say it is time to remove shark fin from the menu.”
Sharks play a significant role in balancing fish populations in the ocean ecosystem. Because they reach sexual maturity late in life and birth small litters, sharks are particularly susceptible to overfishing. Marine biologists have reported a 99 percent decline in oceanic white-tip sharks in the Gulf of Mexico over the past 15 years and an 89 percent decline in hammerhead sharks in the northwest Atlantic. Congress recognized the need to address these rapid declines by passing the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. While the act prohibits importing shark fins into the United States unless the entire shark is used, unlike AB 376, it does not apply to foreign-registered boats and does not ban the sale of shark fins.
Ask your Assembly member to support AB 376 today.
In the spirit of compassionate conservation,