The Honorable Edmund “Jerry” Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Date: September 10, 2011
RE: AB 376: Shark Protection Act — SUPPORT
Dear Governor Brown:
I am writing to urge you to sign Assembly Bill 376 (Fong/Huffman), the Shark Protection Act, to end California’s role in the destruction of shark species and to give these remarkable top predators a chance to recover their populations and restore some balance to our oceans.
The ban on fins is necessary to help stem the global depletion of shark populations. Reaching upwards of $600 a pound, fins are more sought after as opposed to shark meat which is approximately $1 per pound. Once the fins are removed, the sharks’ body is thrown back overboard, often still alive where it sinks the bottom, to slowly bleed out, and then die. The shark fins are then processed and dried and shipped for human consumption. Driving the demand for fins is shark fin soup because it is a favorable dish to serve at banquets and special events to show affluence. It is estimated that over 7 tons of shark fins were imported last year.
Apex predators, sharks are at the top of the oceans’ food chain, and once removed, all of the oceans species will fall like a house of cards. With scientists estimating 34 % of the world’s sharks already extinct, and up to 99% of species decimated, we may be the generation that is responsible for killing off a species that has been in existence for over 450 million years.
Although shark fin has been a customary Chinese entrée for years, many prominent Chinese Americans support the ban on shark fins including Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu, Assemblymembers Fong, Furutani, Hayashi, Pan, Williams, and Yamada, and Senator Carol Liu. In fact, research conducted on behalf of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in February 2011 shows that 70% of Chinese American voters support legislation to ban shark fin.
Thank you for putting California in a lead position to help protect sharks and ocean health.