California Shark Fin Ban Awaits Governor’s Signature

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 1:55 am (UTC-5)
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Shark fin soup will be off the menu in California if Governor Jerry Brown signs a new bill banning the sale, trade or possession of shark fins in America's most populous state.

Asian-American legislators in the state, which has the nation's largest Chinese-American population, were divided on the bill, which was approved this week with support from environmental groups. The groups say 73 million sharks are killed each year, primarily for their fins, and that many species are facing extinction.

But opponents of the bill say it unfairly singles out a traditional delicacy enjoyed by Chinese-Americans. They say the bill does nothing to halt the killing of sharks for other products, such as skins which are used in boots, bags and belts.

Supporters of the bill also object to the practice of shark-finning, in which sharks are thrown back into the sea to die after their fins are removed. The practice is illegal in U.S. coastal waters.

Three U.S. states — Washington, Oregon and Hawaii — already have legislation banning shark fin sales.