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Leila Monroe’s Blog

California is One Big Step Closer to Protecting Sharks & Our Oceans

Leila Monroe

Posted June 28, 2011

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This afternoon, California came one important step closer to banning the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.   Assembly Bill 376 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee  with the support of Senators Pavley, LaMalfa, Evans, Kehoe, Padilla, Wolk, and Simitian.  This bill will help protect the estimated 26 – 73 million sharks killed each year for their fins, which are used to meet the exploding demand for shark fin soup.  The bill's next stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee.   

California is one of the largest markets for shark fins outside of Asia; the ban will deter finning in international waters by ending the fin trade here.  More than 1/3 of shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the international shark fin trade, with some populations declined by 99%.  This morning, the Sacramento Bee carried an excellent article about the importance of this bill, discussing how the opposition critiques are misguided and inaccurate.

      Flickr/ Photo by Justin Henry, via Flickr

Thanks to all our supporters in California who spoke out for sharks, sending thousands of emails and calling their state senators. NRDC, Wild Aid, and the Humane Society joined forces with dozens of other organizations, a host of celebrities, including Leonardo Di Caprio, Yao Ming, Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Anthony Keidis, Flea, Scarlett Johansson, Ian Somerhalder, and many more to ask for support of the bill. Thanks to everyone who took the time to speak out for these amazing ocean predators!

Clearing this Committee is one of the multiple hurdles the bill faces, but if it passes, California will be among the leaders in the global campaign to protect sharks.  In May, Washington joined Hawaii and passed a bill that bans the sale, trade or distribution of shark fins or derivative products in Washington.  Around the world, coastal communities are realizing that sharks play an important role in keeping our oceans healthy. Palau,Guam and The Northern Mariana Islands have taken action to protect sharks because they recognize the value of these large predators to their economies, which are closely tied to healthy oceans and benefit from shark tourism.  

Awareness of shark finning and illegal poaching is growing and so is outrage over the misuse and abuse of our ocean resources.  We will need our supporters to stay involved to help fight back against the opposition who is trying to weaken it, and look out for Action Alerts as the bill advances.  Now is also the time to insist that our leaders  go to the Earth Summit next year in Rio and take action to protect sharks around the world and preserve the health of our oceans.

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Renee RiemkeJun 28 2011 09:22 PM

Please make this bill go through! it's very important to keep the conservation of our animals safe.

Yu Li OoiJun 29 2011 02:12 AM

Stop eating shark's fin soup today! Preserve sharks & their fins.

taylaaJun 29 2011 02:58 AM

omg i can't beleive they eat shark they are my favorite animal and the thing is what did they do to you to make you eat them NOTHING

michelle bradyJun 29 2011 03:57 AM

Please stop this needless killing of one of the most beautiful creatures on our planet!!

Eric MillsJun 29 2011 10:24 AM

Though AB 376 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee by a 7:0 vote (Senators Anthony Cannella & Jean Fuller abstained), it's not home-free yet. To get the bill out of committee, the author (Fong) was forced to agree to accept further weakening amendments, likely to be proposed by Senator Ted Lieu. The bill may have to go back to this same committee. And Senator Lois Wolk (D-Vacaville) was NOT helpful. They need to hear from us.

People should contact Mr. Fong and urge him to accept NO further amendments. The bill has already been weakened to give the opponents a one-year grace period to stockpile shark fins.


Judy KiJun 29 2011 04:17 PM

If you live in Senator Ted Lieu's senate district, he needs to hear from you. He is the 'mediator' between the authors and the opponents. If you are his consituent, and if you are Chinese American, even better. Please contact Senator Ted Lieu and explain to him, politely, that there is no such thing as a sustainable fin industry. It has to be a ban... like ivory. Thanks!

JEFF GAREAUJul 1 2011 12:32 AM

I wanted to get your help. Can you please support a petition that affects a shark fin/products ban motion going to my home Council here in Oakville. I know some do not feel it is important but over 70 million sharks a year that are killed depend on the little steps that we are making. I have been quietly making a difference but a friend has asked me to help so I will come out of the closet. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Please spread the word as we (OAKVILLE) might be one of the few MUNICIPALITIES in the world to pass the ban. I want to blow everyone out of the water and I know it says 1000 signatures but I want 5000 before Monday, July 4th's vote.

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