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Shark Fin Sales Could Soon Be Banned in New York

Shark Fin Sales Could Soon Be Banned in New York

New York legislators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban the sale, trading, distribution and possession of shark fins in the state by as early as 2013. Similar laws have been passed in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia have pending legislation.

Among the sponsors of the bill in the New York Assembly is Grace Meng, who represents Flushing in Queens where the population is heavily Asian. Meng’s immigrant parents both owned and worked in restaurants. While stating her liking for shark fin soup and saying that it would be a “huge adjustment for the community,” Meng also noted that “it’s important to be responsible citizens.”

Others interviewed in a New York Times article about the new bill expressed similar sentiments:

While many restaurants in Chinatown said that a ban would hurt their business, managers predicted that most clients would be only too happy to have it off the menu.

“It’s only the elderly who want it: when their grandkids get married, they want the most expensive stuff, like an emperor,” said Vincent Yu, a waiter at Grand Harmony Palace, where the soup sells for $30 to more than $100 a bowl, depending on whether the meat it contains is pure shark fin or mixed with shrimp or chicken. Alluding to the famously tasteless nature of the fins, he added, “Guests offer me a bowl all the time, but I like won-ton soup.”

Indeed, restaurants are already seeking substitutes for shark fin such as other kinds of fish, abalone or tofu, while businesses are preparing to stop selling shark fin altogether. Before California’s ban became law, a number of people emphasized how integral shark’s fin soup is to Chinese culture. But Patrick Kwan, the New York director of the Humane Society of the United States, downplayed such claims, saying that the soup is “nothing more than a status symbol — a ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ ”

New York is the biggest market for shark’s fin on the east coast so a state-wide ban could lead to similar laws in other states.

73 million sharks — which are an endangered species — are killed annually to satisfy demand for the soup with many of the sharks killed by the horrific practice of finning in which the fin is hacked off a live shark, which is then left to die as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.


Related Care2 Coverage

Some Chinese Losing Their Taste For Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin Ban Passes In California State Assembly

Yes, Chinese Culture Will Survive Without Shark Fin Soup

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Photo by Hector Garcia

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5:35AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Selling shark fins should have been banned a long time ago!! The shark goes through a lot of pain before it finally dies after its fins are cut off.
I sure hope the law gets passed and shark finning gets banned in all states.

12:42PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

Good to hear it's getting banned, but I'm pretty apalled it wasn't already banned in a place like New York. Better late than never.

2:17AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

73 million sharks annually!!!!! I can't imagine this.

4:01PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

its good to know that it is banned ...

12:03PM PST on Mar 3, 2012

And this isn't banned in the entire USA......why?

7:51AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

There is Plenty of other food to Eat than Shark Fins! We don't need to this to be Happening!

7:49AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Even President Obama had Question this last week when Eating!
When he got his Take-Out order! Good!
I know I don't want this Either!
People need to think!

10:08AM PST on Feb 28, 2012

Petition signed!
It would be awesome if this is banned!

7:35AM PST on Feb 28, 2012

Great article! It made my day! Finally these restaurants can keep making money without killing off a truly beautiful species!

5:15PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

Do you know why sharks and rhinos are in same club? In Africa..all they (poachers) did cut the rhino's horn with chainsaw very quickly and they left the rhino bled to death. Just like what they did to the sharks...same thing and both are in same club, interesting, huh? No more fin cutting, please. :-/

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