May 23, 2011
The HSUS and Humane Society International Praise Assembly for Passing California Shark Protection Bill
SACRAMENTO — The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applaud the California State Assembly for approving a bill to combat the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
Introduced in March by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 passed today by a vote of 62 to 8.
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 Hawaii, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and legislation is pending in the Oregon legislature.
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 due to predation from other species. Some species of shark are on the brink of extinction due to the cruel and exploitive shark fin industry.
“Today the Assembly sent a clear message to the rest of the world that California wants no part of the decimation of the world’s sharks for soup,” said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS’ California senior state director. “The HSUS and HSI thank Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman for introducing this important legislation, and urge its swift passage by the Senate to strengthen California’s position at the forefront of shark and marine conservation.”
- More than 73 million sharks are killed annually primarily for their fins, which are often harvested through “finning,” a 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 have led some shark populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades.
- 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.
- Often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status, shark fin 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.
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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.
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.