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September 06, 2011

WiLDCOAST visits CA Legislators to Ask Them to End Shark Finning in California

AB 376 Prohibits the sale and possession of shark fins in the State of California

On Wednesday August 23rd, WiLDCOAST team members Paloma Aguirre and Diana Castaneda along with Executive Director Serge Dedina lobbied members of the California state senate urging them to support AB-376, the ban on the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins in California. 

WiLDCOAST visited with Kevin de Leon’s chief of staff to urge the senator to support the ban on this unsustainable and inhumane practice. The senator’s office acknowledged the current arguments stating that this practice is discriminating toward Asian communities since the consumption of shark fin soup is believed to be a culturally embedded practice. “Over 75% percent of Asians in California support this ban” said Paloma to the Senator’s staff- “We can not afford to allow the depletion of these species because of private corporate interests” Senators de Leon’s staff informed WiLDCOAST that he was still considering all the arguments and could not support or reject the bill at that time.

The bill is currently moving through the California State Legislature. A large percentage of the shark fins sold in California come from Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela. State and federal laws prohibit shark finning in U.S. waters but do not address the importing of fins from other countries. Hawaii has passed similar legislation and now Oregon and Washington are following in its footsteps.

An estimated 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins, mostly to feed growing demand for shark-fin soup in Asian countries. California represents an estimated 85% of the U.S. trade in shark fins (and a big percentage of the global market as well)

We need sharks: As top-dog predators, they regulate the marine ecosystems and are critical for healthy fisheries. The practice of killing sharks purely for their fins, called “shark finning,” threatens the very balance of our oceans. We need to stop shark finning immediately, it is wasteful and barbaric. “We cannot stop the finning (supply) without first halting the demand, therefore it is so important to ban the sale, distribution, and possession of fins in the USA”, said Fay Crevoshay Communication Director of WiLDCOAST.