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California Senate Passes Conservation Bill Banning Shark Fins

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We have been telling our Ecorazzi readers about the number of celebrities giving their support to the AB376, the California bill banning shark fins, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton and Bo Derek. Now, comes the news that the bill was passed by the California Senate yesterday! Ocean- and animal-lovers, rejoice!

According to a press release from WildAid, the bill was passed by a vote of 25 to 9, and will now move on to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Most are expecting that he will sign the bill into law within a week. The legislation will prohibit any “sale, trade, and possession of shark fins within the state.” Shark finning is strongly opposed by both environmental and animal organizations as it claims a massive amount of sharks thereby harming the ocean ecosystems while also killing the sharks painfully and slowly by hauling them onto ships, cutting off their fins and throwing them back into the water alive.

The bill may not seem like a big step when you consider the fact that humans kill up to 73 million sharks each year with their populations declining significantly, but this is in fact a step in the right direction. California represents the biggest demand for shark fins anywhere outside of Asia. This also represents a growing movement in support of shark conservation, with Hawaii, Oregon and Washington having already put shark fin bans in place. According to WildAid, though shark fin soup is popular in Asia, polls showed that 70% of Chinese-American voters in the state of California supported this bill.

Executive Director for WildAid, Peter Knights, said that legislation like this bill is needed to protect sharks from extinction. “Sharks have been around for nearly 400 million years, and could be wiped out in a single human generation due to an increasing demand for their fins”…”Fisheries regulation on the ground has utterly failed to reduce overfishing — market approaches like this are crucial.”

Along with WildAid, the bill has also been backed by organizations like Oceana, Humane Society of the United States, and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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