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February 14, 2011

The HSUS and Ocean Conservation Groups Urge California to Send Valentine to Protect Sharks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Humane Society of the United States, along with ocean advocates such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Oceana, Ocean Conservancy, WildAid and the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, praised the Valentine’s Day introduction of Assembly Bill 376 to combat the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.

Championed by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 would prohibit the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins, closing a major enforcement loophole in existing law. Should this law pass, California would become the second state to ban the possession and sale of shark fins. Hawaii enacted similar protections in July 2010 and similar legislation is now pending in the legislatures of Guam, Oregon and Washington.

Shark finning involves cutting off the fins of sharks then throwing the shark back into the ocean, often while still alive, only to drown, starve or die a slow death by predation from other animals. Some species of shark are on the brink of extinction due to the cruel and exploitive shark fin industry.  

"Thanks to Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman, California has the opportunity to send sharks a valentine and lead our country internationally in helping to balance the world's ecology and environment,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS. “We must cease the senseless and cruel slaughter of one of the great predators of the world's oceans."

The bill will be heard in policy committee in March. The HSUS urges the California legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to approve this important measure.

Facts about shark finning:

  • Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year simply to supply the wasteful demand for shark fin soup. Shark populations cannot sustain current slaughter rates.
  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and our oceans’ ecosystems.
  • Unlike other fish species, sharks produce few pups, and thus, many species are endangered and/or threatened due to the fin trade.
  • President Obama recently signed the Shark Conservation Act, which will crack down on the lucrative and abusive trade in shark fins and close critical loopholes in the federal law to improve enforcement, such as requiring boats to land sharks with their fins still attached.

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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.

 

 

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