Wednesday, 7 September 2011

California and Shark Fin Soup

Today I write as yesterday the bill (AB376) to ban the sale, trade or possession of shark fins in California was approved by lawmakers.
Now it is down to the governor to fully decide whether this change in legislation will go ahead.

This will include the ban of shark's fin soup, a Chinese (and controversial) dish that many conservationists blame for the decline in shark numbers. In some Asian cultures, the soup is considered a delicacy, so as you can imagine there was uproar by some individuals over plan to ban its sale and at points it appeared that the approval may not go ahead.
State Senator Leland Yee described the bill as 'a racist measure', speaking:
"I think what is most insidious about this particular bill is that it sends a very bad message, not only to us in California but to the rest of the world, that discrimination against Chinese Americans is OK".
Others said that it was discriminatory as only shark fin sales would be banned, with nothing to stop somebody from taking the rest of the shark.

But researchers have refuted this, saying that fishermen often cut the fins off live sharks and dump the bodies into the ocean to die because there is little demand for shark meat. Senator Joe Simitian said "It is the fin that is the problem, and therefore it is the fin the bill addresses".
Luckily, despite the negative claims, it was eventually agreed upon with a 25-9 vote and sent to the governor.

As most of us know, sharks are a large ocean predator and therefore play a highly important role in ecosystems. With any luck, California introducing this legislation will prompt other states and even countries to follow suit.


  1. very good , about time x

  2. Hopefully California can lead the way, but it would be nice to see a bill in the future that protects the whole animal, and not just the fin.


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