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.

[cnn-video url="http://cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2011/09/04/lu-stout-shark-fin-ban.cnn"%5D

"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. Shark Connoisseur

    Having grown up in China and eaten Shark's fin all my life, I have to say it is very delicious. I hope this bill does not pass through as the price of Shark's fin where I live will increase. There will probably be other channels to obtain this delicacy, such as Mexico.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Sherron Teal

      One thing I have noticed about orientals is all they care about is their selves! They would and will wipe everything off the planet if allowed to do so. They SIMPLY DON'T CARE!

      September 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      You're ridiculous!

      September 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Blackshark

      I've tried shark fins once, and anybody else who has tried it knows that it is tasteless. It literally has no taste what-so-ever. It's time to ban this crap. It doesn't matter if you're Chinese or anyone else, the fact is you're killing an already endangered species.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry1960

      To Sherron Teal-

      Are you sure you're not talking about Americans? Learn your history before making such ridiculous statements.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Shark Connoisseur

      Joke's on you guys, Im white, and still think it is delicious. There are a few places in the San Gabriel Valley you can get cheap Shark's Fin Soup if you have a big order for lunch/dinner.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. aochs615

    I got Fins to the Left...

    September 7, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kel

    Good. This practice is utterly disgusting. I don't care if people used the whole shark for meat, but to cut it's fins off for the small piece of cartilage inside then let it sink to the bottom to suffocate or be eaten is cruel and wasteful. It should have taken them much sooner to ban this awful procedure.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @Brad:

    Do you want some cheese?
    J/K.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cindy

    Remember, people.... "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!". Anything that profits from the abuse of others, human or animal, needs to be stopped. And if we need to inact laws to make it happen, then so be it. Hiding behind ignorance for the sake of "tradition" is no longer acceptable!!!

    September 7, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry1960

      Exactly how does the "ignorance" fit into this? Are you saying that the Chinese are an ignorant people becasue of their 1000's year old traditions?

      September 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. 'tasha

    This has nothing to do with descrimination agains the Chinese. It's about the practice of cutting their fins off and throwing them back in. That's just barbaric!

    September 7, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      My thoughts exactly. The damn politicians need to stop turning this around to be about people and realize it's about the waste of life from taking away an animal's form of locomotion. Locomotion required for that animal's respiration. If they don't move, they don't get oxygen and they die. I can't wait until so many species are killed off that the system breaks down and we ourselves begin to die off.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Caroline

    What a massacre.... I thought it was illegal in the US
    Killing these beautiful sharks to make soup....
    It's sickening and so retarded....

    September 7, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry1960

      "It's sickening and so retarded...."

      Remember that in a few years when shark over population has killed off a large majority of the lower rungs of the food chain (seafood you eat) and you are paying $50 a fillet for talapia. Yes, there needs to be controls in place, but not an outright ban.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Shark overpopulation? There is no such thing, what a ridiculous comment. Humans do no not have to police the oceans to do mother nature's job.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      @Henry...

      Yes because the shark population has a massive impact on the population and price of a fresh water species.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    who gives a flying F#$! , find a better story to produce , lets get our boys home , that should be the main focus!

    September 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      You mean "lets get our MEN home" , don't you?

      September 7, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Yeddo

    Maybe we should have an adaptation of that slogan:

    'What happens in China STAYS in China...'

    Lol! 🙂

    September 7, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. JD

    Cut the arms off the Chinese fishermen who are guilty of this heinous act and throw them overboard... see how they fare.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ande's

      actually most of the fisherman are costa rican.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mmmmm

    Now if our politicians can pass a law stopping the Chinese from poaching our financial infrastructure and economy...Mmmmmmmm?

    September 7, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Diana

    It should be banned. I also want whale killing and dolphin culls to be banned as well (for the entire world). I'm not happy with that either.

    This isn't about culture discrimination bs. This is about protecting a species that is vital to the world's largest ecosystem and has been here for millions of years longer than us. Also they are endangered which is completely our fault as well.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    As a libertarian, we have too many laws already.

    That being said, should the fin be banned instead of the practice? Sounds like more war on drugs – now the blackmarket and criminals will be the only ones benefitting.

    Shouldn't we, instead, do something like sanctions against the companies that don't make use of the whole shark?

    September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dma

    There is more to this law than right and wrong, I don't agree with the practice of finning. If they used the whole animal and followed the international laws the other fishing industries did then so be it. I actually have had shark fin soup quite a few times at chinese weddings and personally could take it or leave it. I do see why someone from chinese ethnicity would think they were being targeted though. I would like to see the uproar of the white rich folks if CA also tried banning Fois gras, which if you know how they treat those animals would make most gag. So I guess I don't necessarily have a problem with banning things that can resonably be considered cruelty to animals, but if you're going to do it, then do it on all fronts. If you only list 1 item, that is really only significant to 1 ethnic group or even just a few, but ignore other questionable practices, then I start thinking that there is more behind the law than the sharks.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Caroline

    Chinese culture..... who cares!!!!!
    They have no right killing sharks for the sake of their traditions.
    They have to adjust now, everybody needs to change their way of living,
    it's now... not tomorrow, we have done enough abuse on this earth...
    it's already too late....

    September 7, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
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