In a huge victory for animals, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill banning the sale, possession and trade of shark fins in California. The bill had been backed by animal protection giants like HSUS and WildAid as well as celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ted Danson, James Cameron, Edward Norton, Scarlet Johansson, Kristen Bell, Paul Rudd, Richard Branson and Yao Ming.

DiCaprio celebrated the victory by posting on his facebook page and thanking everyone who helped pass this historic legislation. “Thanks for all your calls, emails, signatures, posts and retweets. We did it!!”

Danson said in an interview about what this ban means for sharks, “This is a big step in the right direction. California is responsible for selling, trading and distributing large amounts of shark fins that come from all over the world…It joins new legislation recently passed in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, adding up to coast wide protections for sharks, which is great news and a big improvement over just a couple of years ago. Sharks are in real trouble and they need all the help they can get.”

Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. They are captured, their fins are cut off and then they are tossed back into the Ocean, often still alive, to bleed to death or become food for predators. In the past few decades shark populations have been decimated from overfishing.

Sharks, in addition to deserving more than the painful deaths inflicted by finning, are a vital part of the ocean’s ecosystem. We hope this ban goes a long way in helping to restore their numbers and protect these creatures.

If you happen to be afraid of sharks, we’ll leave you with these wise words from Ted Danson: “You’re more likely to be killed by your kitchen toaster than a shark!”

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

View all posts by Ali Berman →
  • Eric Mills

    Not to throw water on anyone’s parade, but people should be aware that the Governor also signed companion bill AB 853 (also co-authored by Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman).

    AB 853 was a last-minute, backroom deal thrown together as a sop to appease the meagre opposition to AB 376. It was one of those unethical “gut and amend” efforts, a revamping of a dead education bill which had NOTHING to do with sharks or the environment. There were no hearings, no public debate or discussion. So much for the democratic process. It was thought by some that AB 376 would not pass unless AB 853 was approved.

    AB 853 gives the shark fin industry another 18 months to massacre sharks and stockpile the fins.

    You can see both bills at

  • Candice

    no it gives people another 18 months to sell the shark fins they already have in stock.

  • George Rix

    I’ve been one of the people campaigning against this disgusting industry along time now, California’s ban I hope has enough clout to trigger a global trend to put right a global problem that is mostly about one snob soup for the ‘elite’ of just one culture….

  • James

    Sharks are serial murderers of those lost at sea. Many US servicemen were mercilessly tortured by sharks near the Philipines during WWII. All they wanted was a warm place to sleep on land and a warm meal. Instead, day and night, sharks took off legs, tore their guts as men screamed and cried for mercy that never came from the sharks.

    Animals, minerals and plants make up the basis of every natural resource we have and from which we create jobs and national security and heavy industry. Without the heavy industry that comes from developing our own natural resources, history proves that we cannot remain a world power.

    If you like sharks, get a pet for your aquarium. Do not pretend a public interest, a communal interest, a communistic interest in serial murdering sharks in the sea.

    • BanTheFurTrade

      You have got to be kidding! If you want to talk about “serial murderers” let’s talk about humans, the most bloodthirsty killers of all. Not only do they kill any and every creature imaginable just because they can, they also massacre each other (war, etc.)! So by your logic, we really shouldn’t care about humans, either. They’re nothing but serial murderers, after all.

    • Shumila Ahmad

      I honestly thought you were joking at first and I laughed at your wit. But apparently you were serious. Sharks are part of our ecosystems. They have their own worth. They are not mere resources meant to be harvested. Animals, minerals and plant are things that exist for their own reason, and not just so we humans may make use of them. I wouldn’t have thought I would need to spell this out to someone visiting this particular website.

      “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money” ~ Cree Indian Proverb

  • Jon Gonzalez

    Eric Mills,
    AB 853 was authored by Fong. It allows folks until July 2013 to get rid of stock they had prior to Jan 2012. Folks only have until Jan 2012 to “stockpile” fins. Hawaii offered a similar grace period if you can recall. This was backdoor and last minute, but it’s because it was an oversight on the authors part.
    Bottom line is whether or not you think it’s fair for folks to sell existing stock, don’t let that overshadow the tremendous victory of the passage of AB 376!

  • Janice

    Here in Canada we have two MPs Elizabeth May and Fin Donnelly (yes his first name is Fin)that are tabling a Bill to Ban Shark Fins in all of Canada. There is currently in process a proposed ban in the city of Toronto.

    Even with all of Canada and California, it is a very small drop in a very large bucket. China itself is said to be responsible for 95% of all shark finning. Sigh.

    James…can I ask why you are trolling on a site such as Ecorazzi??

  • herwin

    the shark fin ban made it to an article in a thai magazine. :-)
    vegan shark fin soup ! the chinese veg cuisine is disturbingly good in faking anything.

  • Bob

    I guess I’ll be avoiding California then. Instead I’ll visit states where I can still get a bowl of shark fin soup if I want one. That’s where I intend to spend my money.

    • BanTheFurTrade

      Yeah, sure you will. Good luck with that!