Shark Fin Ban Passes In California State Assembly

On Monday, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly approved a ban on the sale and distribution of shark fins inside state lines.

The bill, known as AB376, was proposed by California lawmakers Paul Fong and Jared Huffman just over three months ago. It was approved in the lower House by a vote of 62-8 vote after a long floor debate.

The bill would essentially ban shark finning, a process where the fins and tails are cut from living sharks, and the remainder of the fish, which is often still alive, is thrown back into the ocean.

It is estimated that as many as 73 million sharks are killed each year, the majority of which are finned. Studies suggest that 90 percent of some shark species are gone. At this rate, sharks which have been around for hundreds of millions of years could soon become extinct.

SF Gate reports that if approved, “Chinese shark fin soup — a popular tradition at Chinese celebrations including weddings — would be illegal in the Golden State beginning Jan. 1, 2013.”

Shark fins are considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, and are used to make a soup that often sells for more than $80 a bowl. The Associated Press reports that at a large specialty market in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, dried triangular fins are selling for $299 to $699 a pound.

“Just as we banned the cultural tradition of foot binding, the tradition of eating shark fin soup served to show one’s affluence needs to end as well,” said Assemblymember Fong in a statement. “I am honored that the California State Assembly recognized what 76 percent of Californians and 70 percent of Chinese American voters in California have already recognized — that sharks are critical to the ocean’s health. Furthermore, our state and federal laws against finning are toothless in international waters — that’s why these efforts to stop the importation and demand here in California are so urgent.”

The bill will now move to the California senate.

Supporters of the bill include The Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton, Master Chef Martin Yan, Chef Charles Phan of the Slanted Door, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences and The Humane Society of the United States

Related Reading:

California Lawmakers Propose Shark Fin Ban

Top 5 Endangered Sharks (Slideshow)

CITES Delegates Deny Protection To Sharks And Bluefin Tuna

Shark Extinction In Our Lifetime? (Video)

Image Credit: Flickr - usfwspacific


New G.
W. C.4 years ago

Agree with Diane L.

Tim Cheung
Tim C.5 years ago


John Doe
james rico5 years ago

yes it is world wide by now but i recently read where asian ships were still doing it en mass on a large scale for their own markets. thats why i zero in on them more but even the russians should stop what they do to the sturgion but russia and asian countrys have not gotten past the stage of mass coruption. so we can just hope right now. that that get their act together soon.if american ships were cought doing this even past the 200 mile limit i am sure the public pressure would stop it fast.

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Sorry for the "typos".........had eye surgery Sunday morning to hopefully rep;air a detached retina, and right now I can see only out of one eye, so everything is distorted and blurry. I'm a "touch" typist, but sometimes it does help to glance down at the keyboard and I can't SEE the danged thing!

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Oh, good grief, John........let it go, PLEASE! You do this ll the time........continue to argue and debate non-issues and nit-p;ick parts of comments to imply they aren't relevant. The POINT of mentioning deer hunting with originating in Europe was that it's the same didn't start here, nor did the practice of shark-finning, BUT one involves killing an entire animal for food, and the other does NOT. We don't NEED to hunt deer for food anymore, either.

The comparison to caviar was more relevant, and glad you finally p;icked up on that, but where is your disapproval or anger at the Russians for having done that, EVER? Caviar is still being served as a delicacy world-wide. No, of COURSE caviar is not necessary to eat for survival, nor is eating shark stead "necessary", but there again, the point SHOULD BE that if one wants to fsh for shark MEAT, then it might be acceptable to use the fins for food as well, but NOT remove just the fins and discard the rest of the animal.

You want to "preach to the choir" about killing animals strictly for one "body part" and nobody is disagreeing with you, but it IS improper to blame ONLY Asians for the practice.

John Doe
james rico5 years ago

diane L you are party missing the point to shoot a deer in 1650 meant to survive no one could find fault with that at that time but to kill sharks or for that matter other animals by who ever is very wrong as its not a matter of life and death as it was in 1600/s would you not agree. yes you pointed that out with the cavior.the russians eat things like that are more greed and self serving then anything else and what kind of evil mindset would do such a thing no matter who they are. i even saw on TV where they cut the fish down the stomach to get the cavior many time while fully alive

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

May BE, John, but the point is that Asians are not alone or responsible for this practice and who cares if they had the "original" recipe for it or not? Are you going to blame Europeans because some people like venison? After all, hunting deer for meat PROBABLY originated there, and "migrated" to this country by European settlers. They didn't just land the boat and decide they saw a deer, so let's go out & kill and eat it.

You seem to be wanting to BLAME one ethnic group for the taste buds of everybody. Want to bash Russians because after all, the taste for caviar started out with them. I asked that question previously, and you've chosen to ignore it and still want to blame Asians for shark de-finning.

The entire point is that the practice of DE-FINNING is cruel and unnecessary. Most people seem to be in agreement that if one wants to eat shark, that's acceptable, and in the process of catching sharks, then use the fins for soup IF that is an option, vs. just discarding them, but NOBODY should catch sharks and remove ONLY their fins and toss the then still ALIVE but horribly mutilated animal back in the ocean.

John Doe
james rico5 years ago

but diane L it all did start with the asians appatite for this shark finn soup so now it cought on with every body. that is those that do not care about the cruelty or makeing an animal rare

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

John, been offline for a few days and just now reading your reply. Chicago isn't exactly on the West Coast, nor is St. Louis, and there are 5-star restaurants in both cities which had shark fin soup on the menu. Please read what I posted and don't jump to conclusions, nor make assumptions that it's just "regional" based on ethic populations. Caviar is something that not only Russians ate, but considered a delicacy by people of many different ethnicities. Not JUST the French drink wine, nor JUST Italians eat spaghetti.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.5 years ago

It's about time!