California Becomes Fourth State to Ban Shark Fin Trade
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Laud Gov. Brown's Signature
SACRAMENTO (Oct. 7, 2011) - The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for enacting landmark legislation that will close off Pacific U.S. ports and their role in facilitating the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
Introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 passed the Senate in early September with a bipartisan vote of 25 to 9, having previously cleared the Assembly by a vote of 65 to 8.
The new law prohibits the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins, closing a major enforcement loophole in existing law. Similar laws have been passed in Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington.
"Sharks need their fins, and we don't," said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California senior state director. "The HSUS and HSI thank Governor Brown for signing this bill into law and closing most of the American Pacific off to the shark fin trade. The momentum to protect sharks globally has taken a huge leap forward."
The HSUS and HSI thank Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman for introducing this important legislation, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and State Sens. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, for their leadership in the Legislature.
The broad and diverse coalition supporting AB 376 included animal protection, Asian Pacific American, environmental, conservation, law enforcement, culinary, celebrity and political leaders.
"Finning" is an abhorrent practice that involves slicing off the fins of a shark and discarding the animal at sea to drown or bleed to death. Unsustainable fishing methods like this have led to declines by as much as 90 percent in some shark populations during recent decades.
- The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
- Conservation enforcement and finning bans in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve sharks. A ban on shark fin products, such as AB 376 proposes, is the most effective way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.
- Shark fin is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested and the precarious status of many shark populations.
- In January, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.