California Shark Fin Ban One Step Closer…..

From Care2:

California Shark Fin Ban One Step Closer To Law

A bill that would make it illegal to sell, trade, or posses shark fins in California passed the State’s Senate Appropriations Committee today on a 5-2 vote. The bill, officially known as AB 376, will now move to the Senate floor, where a vote is expected within the next few weeks.

During the finning process, the fins and tails are cut from living sharks, and the remainder of the fish, which is often still alive, is thrown back into the ocean.

Most of the demand for shark fins comes from Asian countries where it is used to make a gelatinous soup that often sells for more than $80 a bowl. The Associated Press reports that at a large specialty market in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, dried triangular fins are selling for $299 to $699 a pound.

Proposed by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), who is himself of Chinese descent, the bill has been at the center of divisive controversy among California’s Chinese-American community.

“Fins in California come from all over the world. California is estimated to be the largest market for fins outside of Asia, and a significant point for imports and exports, including the re-export of foreign fins,” said Assemblymember Fong. “Whether these fins are obtained through the cruel practice of finning or by other means, there are simply not enough sharks to meet the demand for shark fin. Shark fins, not other shark products, drive the overfishing of sharks because other shark parts are far less valuable than shark fin.”

“We have a role in helping our seas recover their balance – a role shared by our friends in Washington state, whose governor signed a similar ban into law two weeks ago, and Oregon, which is considering a ban in its Legislature as we speak. Sharks belong at the top of the marine food web, and we can help restore them by passing AB 376,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, Assemblymember Jared Huffman.

E. Fudd