Photo by StormyDog via Flickr CC
Great news for sharks came on Friday in California when news hit that Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 376 into law, banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins. The hope is that by hitting the market from the demand side, the supply side will be easier to slow down, and perhaps eventually stop. However, this bill was not without a great deal of controversy, especially among the Asian American community. Oceana announced, "Last year, we fought to end shark finning in US waters and won but since sharks don't respect international boundaries, continued trade meant that sharks all over the world were still in danger. With approximately 85 percent of the dried shark fin imports to the US originating in California, this ban is a massive victory for sharks - and for you and me."
Some opponents of the law felt that it unfairly targets the Asian American community, since sharks fin soup is a popular meal served at occasions such as weddings. However, supporters recognized that this is about more than human traditions -- it is about protecting an important apex predator in our ocean that is rapidly disappearing due to overfishing.
"Removing sharks from ocean ecosystems can destabilize the ocean food web and even lead to declines in populations of other species, including commercially-caught fish and shellfish species lower in the food web. While shark finning is illegal in the U.S., current federal laws banning the practice do not address the issue of the shark fin trade, so shark fins are imported to the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place," notes Oceana.
Hopefully we will see more bans like this put into place not just in the US, but around the world.
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More on Shark Finning
California Moves Closer to Banning Shark Fins, But The Debate Rages
Ban on Selling Shark Fins Passes California Assembly
California's Proposed Shark Fin Ban Divides Chinese-American Community
What Is Shark Fin Soup and Why Should it Be Banned in California and Beyond?