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September 6, 2011

California Legislature Passes Bill Banning Shark Fin Trade

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Urge Governor Brown to Sign Bill

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applaud the California State Senate for approving a bill to combat the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning. 

Introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 passed the Senate this afternoon by a bipartisan vote of 25 to 9, having previously cleared the Assembly by a vote of 65 to 8.

If enacted by Gov. Jerry Brown, this new law would prohibit the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins, closing a major enforcement loophole in existing law. Similar laws have been passed in Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington.

“Today the Senate reaffirms California’s vanguard for ocean protection and declares clearly that California supports vigorous protection for sharks,” said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS’ California senior state director. “We urge Governor Brown to sign the bill into law and make California the fourth state to crack down on the shark fin trade.”  

The HSUS and HSI thank Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman for introducing this important legislation, and Sens. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, for their leadership in the Senate.

“Finning” is an abhorrent practice that involves slicing off the fins of a shark and discarding the animal at sea to drown or bleed to death. Unsustainable fishing methods like this have led to declines by as much as 90 percent in some shark populations during recent decades.

Facts:

  • The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
  • Conservation enforcement and finning bans in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve sharks. A ban on shark fin products, such as AB 376 proposes, is the most effective way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.  
  • Shark fin is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark-fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested and the precarious status of many shark populations.  
  • In January, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

 The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. On the Web at hsi.org

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