Legislation that would protect sharks from the shark fin trade has passed the state senate and is headed to the governor’s office for his signature, according to the office of state Assemblyman Paul Fong.
The California Shark Protection Act, AB 376, introduced by Fong, D-Cupertino, and state Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, would ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins in California.
Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in many Asian-American cultures and some opponents of the legislation said it is an assault on Asian-American culture.
“It is time to stop serving a soup that is driving sharks to extinction. The cultural issue is very minor compared to the major environmental devastation of eliminating sharks for our world’s oceans,” Fong said in a statement.
Shark fins can be worth more than $600 per pound and are more sought after than shark meat, which is worth about $1 per pound. The fins are removed and often the shark’s body is thrown back into the ocean where it slowly bleeds out and dies, according to Fong’s office.
The law aims to curb indiscriminate hunting and, in doing so, help restore the dwindling number of sharks in the ocean.
“We are one critical step closer to ending California’s role in the destruction of shark species and to giving these remarkable top predators a chance to recover their populations and restore some balance to our oceans,” Huffman said in a statement.
Erika Heidecker, Bay City News