Press Release: For Immediate Distribution
California makes waves for sharks. Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed a landmark bill protecting sharks. AB 376, by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), bans the possession and sale of shark fins in California.
Shark fins are used to make the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. Once a delicacy reserved for Chinese Nobility, consumption of the dish prepared from treated and dried sharks fin has increased significantly in China and western countries.
The practice of “finning” for culinary purposes has led to substantial declines in shark populations worldwide. The Bill, co authored by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D. Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D. Marin/Sonoma) had received wide support among scientists, conservationists and the Asian community.
“The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans,” said Governor Brown.
“Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”
While many countries have already banned the practice, it continues unabated in unregulated international waters. By banning the possession and sale of shark fins, California joins Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Guam and other island nations in an effort to reduce demand and protect shark populations.
"This is a phenomenal victory for sharks," said David McGuire, Director of Shark Programs for Turtle Island Restoration Network, Sea Stewards, and the key activist in placing the finning issue on the radar of state legislators. "We had to fight a lot of special interests to win this protection. Shark populations are decreasing world wide at an alarming rate, and we know that shark fins from endangered species are entering our ports from international waters. We introduced the issue to Assemblyman Huffman and he ran with it. Mr. Fong brought in the Chinese community support. As one of the Bill sponsors, we are proud of our role protecting, both locally and internationally.”
In addition to AB 376, Governor Brown also signed a companion bill by Assemblyman Fong, AB 853, which allows existing stocks of on-hand shark fins to be sold until July 1, 2013.
Media Contact David McGuire 415 350-3790