Shark Fin Bans Head East to Illinois, Virginia and Maryland as Fin Traders Challenge California Law

With growing momentum the movement to limit the shark fin trade is building in States across the nation.  Last week an Illinois Billl sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) would institute the ban on shark fins, the central ingredient for the delicacy shark fin soup, throughout the state starting July 2013.

Shark fin bans have already been implemented in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California, and similar legislation has been introduced in Florida and New York.

"We applaud the efforts in Illinois and other states, following passage of our own State ban in California." Said Shark Stewards Director, David McGuire. "Sharks are vital for marine ecosystem balance, and the rate they are being removed from the oceans is destroying that balance."

These bans are ultimately lead  to curtail shark finning, the practice of extracting the animal’s fin and throwing it back in the ocean.  The demand for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup makes the distribution of shark fins a destructive trade throughout the world.

A poll taken by the Monterey Bay Aquarium revealed that Californians of all ages and backgrounds – including more than two-thirds of California’s Chinese-American voters – support a ban on sale, possession and trade in shark fins during that state's successful campaign.

Even as shark fin traders try to circumvent California's with a lawsuit, shark fin regulations are being proposed in Maryland and Virginia and discussion is occurring in Florida.  A grassroots effort in Texas initiated by Shark Stewards is well underway.

"Too many sharks are being killed worldwide, largely driven by the fin trade. Laws like this are necessary to control illegally harvested shark fins from entering our markets." Adds McGuire. "Reducing that trade will help dry up profits for shark finners and fin traders and reduce shark killing."

Shark Stewards is a non profit project of the Turtle Island Restoration Network.