Shark fin soup one step closer to being banned in California
Shark fins may be pulled from the shelves of San Francisco's Chinatown if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill banning their sale.
September 6th, 2011
10:56 PM ET

Shark fin soup one step closer to being banned in California

A Chinese delicacy moved closer to extinction Tuesday in California as the state Senate passed a bill banning the sale of shark fins.

The Senate voted 25 to 9 to ban the possession, sale or trade of the key ingredient in shark fin soup. The bill will go to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for approval.

Shark fins are often acquired through the controversial practice of finning, in which a shark's fins are cut off and the rest of its body is tossed into the ocean. California, home to 1.1 million Chinese-Americans, is one of the largest importers of shark fins outside Asia.

Supporters of the bill hailed the vote as an important step toward protecting an increasingly rare species.

"This hugely important victory in the California Legislature comes not a moment too soon," said Leila Monroe, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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"With sharks being killed by the tens of millions every year just for their fins, scientists, many Asian Pacific-American leaders and jurisdictions around the country and world agree: The very best way to protect sharks from disappearing from our oceans forever is to ban the sale and trade of shark fins."

Critics said the bill unfairly targeted the Chinese-American community because it only restricts the sale of shark fins, which are used almost exclusively in Chinese cuisine. The bill does not apply to other shark products like oil or meat.

"I think what is most insidious about this particular bill is that it sends a very bad message, not only to us in California but to the rest of the world, that discrimination against Chinese-Americans is OK," Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lawmakers on Tuesday also approved a second bill that added several key provisions, including an exemption for taxidermists to possess shark fins and giving restaurants more time to use up what they have of the ingredient, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It is unclear what position Brown might take. He has not publicly stated whether he supports the bill.

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Filed under: Animals • California • Sharks
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. nati

    it is a good ban, and i have no sympathy for those indulging on the fins just because they have money for doing so, even though i am a Chinese. ban it, and ban it now! i feel bad for those magnificent sea creatures.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • At the beach

      No soup for you.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. wenceslao

    it isnt discrimination people, they are simply looking out to protect a species that is endangered. it just so happens to affect a certain group of people.

    on the other hand, who is the government to ban a product that doesnt endanger its people? i am growing tired of politicians sticking their nose in places it doesnt belong. it seems as if they fear the is now improving on the past, and are constructing more and more laws and policies to better the people. on the other hand, i feel its best to tear those down that done have a place.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • spydrworks

      This is a product that does endanger people. It's full of mercury plus if sharks go extinct sea food sources will decline,meaning many will starve around the globe.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. corntrader19

    I hope this passes and other states pass the same laws. This ban should be extended to turtles and other creatures that Asians use for food. The turtle population has almost been wiped out because Asians use turtles for soup. I wish
    there would be a ban on any fish that is necessary to make sushi. Sushi restaurants are depleting the oceans!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. kate simmons

    it is long overdue. sick custom to fin sharks and throw them back in. what kind of society are we? the whole notion makes me sick. BAN IT!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. treehugger

    Let's see.....they cut the fins off the shark and then they dump the shark back in the ocean. Sounds humane to me. (I'M JUST KIDDING!) It's barbaric! The shark will die without it's fins. Good call. I fear sharks (I was a kid when 'Jaws' premiered), but it doesn't keep me from enjoying the beauty of reef diving. I fear bears, but it doesn't keep me from hanging out in the woods. We need to protect the ecosystem and sharks are an important part of the oceans ecosystem.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. TM Katalenich

    this is still a debate? These fishermen cut off only the fins of a live shark and toss the animal back to the water to drown slowly. With all of the hunger in the world, atleast require the fishermen to keep the whole animal and sell the remaining flesh as steaks or ground patties for the poor, so long as the meat isn't to heavily tainted with toxic metals or chemicals. The shark fin industry is pure idiocy and should not be allowed in US waters.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Prairie Orca

    Worldwide shark populations have been depleted by at least 80% in the last 50 years.

    233 shark species are currently listed on the IUCN Red List. Keep in mind these numbers are refined to the "true sharks", or Chondrichthyes, who are all oceanic.

    38 species are listed as Vulnerable.
    10 species are Endangered.
    11 species are Critically Endangered.

    For a total of 59 species.

    You may find some familiar names if you consult this list:

    September 7, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. kat

    it is ok to eat the rest of the shark parts but if u eat the fin its a crime now???

    September 7, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Gaadffly

      Yep, now ya throw the fins back and eat the rest. Gives new meaning to the phrase "man eating shark" Haha

      September 7, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Wow. Back to soup later.
    @ Sam:
    My response to your racist crack about the white man:
    I have to get out of the house soon and head for the gym, so I skimmed some of the comments, but I think I saw something else negative about Caucasians. OK: if you start out by hating me, don't expect me to be nice to you, because I'm not a Christian: no other cheek with me. You want to play racist, you got it.
    @ good people:
    I may have had this soup, but I don't remember.
    I've often been taken to wonderful restaurants right after I played concerts, and sometimes I'm so tired that I remember that the food was wonderful although I can't remember what was brought to the table.
    This is certain: I'm going to go to a Chinatown restaurant soon and have the soup. I don't want to miss any experiences as I go through life.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Cachuw

      you so ignant!

      September 7, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Once the race card is played by the ignorant it can't be put away. Naturally it's played here. Otherwise there would be no controversy. This is not a race issue. Idiots. Grow up.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. LOW LYF


    September 7, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gaadffly

    This is just a case of Gov. Moonbeam Brown protecting his closest relatives. When sharks stop biting people, then we may consider not eating them. What's so bad about having quadraplegic sharks ??

    September 7, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. angryersmell

    not only is killing any animal to the point of extinction just to make soup a sign of human arrogance and stupidity, it is short-sighted and self-destructive. claiming "in the past others did the same, therefore I should be allowed" only proves you are as ignorant, selfish and stupid as they were.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gaadffly

    Well,,, so much for my plans to start a shark farm and re-populate the depleted areas off our popular beaches.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cachuw

    The asian people have been consuming and killing all the wrong critters through out history, you really suppose the stop eating all their favorites now?

    September 7, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Gaadffly

      Next, Gov. Moonbeam Brown will propose a ban on birds nest soup due to the barbaric act of confiscating nests and creating a large population of homeless birds living under bridges and freeway overpasses.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
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