The California legislature has introduced a bill that would ban the sale, trade, or possession of shark fins in an effort to stop the horrific “shark finning” practice used to acquire the fins.
For those unfamiliar with shark finning, that’s the practice used by some fishermen to slice the fin off of a still-living shark and either let the shark suffocate on the ship, or throw the animal back into the water where it subsequently dies. The fins are then used to make the traditional Chinese “shark fin soup,” which can sell for upwards of $40 a bowl.
We have seen many activists oppose shark finning in the past, including U.S. Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk and Santa Claus (not the real one of course, he’s busy). Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay even traveled to Costa Rica to investigate the horrors himself, and ended up being doused in gasoline and held at gunpoint by the thugs conducting the finning operation.
The bill was introduced by California Democrats Paul Fong and Jared Huffman yesterday. Bans on shark fin sales and distribution are already in place in Hawaii, and similar bills are going up for vote in Oregon and Washington. We can only hope that this one passes! It would take some kind of serious evil to vote down legislation like this.
The website for the documentary TV show “Sharkwater” claims that an estimated 100 million sharks are killed annually, most of them just for their fins. Their website offers more information about the practice, and on Rob Stewart‘s “Sharkwater,” which was filmed with the help of Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.