Take Action: Ask the Governor to Protect Sharks and Our Oceans by Signing AB 376 into Law
Posted September 14, 2011
Last week, I reported that the state legislature took a huge step towards protecting sharks and our ocean ecosystems by passing AB 376, which will ban the sale and trade of shark fins in California. Now, the bill is on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk -- we need your help to urge him to sign this important bill into law.
Sharks are critical to the health of our oceans: as apex predators, they are key to keeping ecosystems in balance. Yet, the demand for sharks’ fins, which are harvested and sold at astronomically high prices for use in shark fin soup, is driving shark populations around the world into serious decline. Between 26 – 73 million sharks are killed each year just for their fins. AB 376 bans sale and trade in shark fins because it is the value of fins that drives shark killing. A single shark fin can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars -- a basking shark fin can fetch up to $50,000 USD -- while the rest of the entire shark is worth pennies per pound or nothing at all.
The U.S. and California have already banned the wasteful practice of “finning” (slicing off sharks’ fins and discarding the remainder of the animal) in our waters. But this does not address the heart of the problem, which is the sale and trade of shark fins, most of which are imported after being caught in fisheries around the world. AB 376 will put an end to our state’s contribution to the shark fin trade that drives overfishing, poaching, and waste. Without better legal protections, the demand for fins will drive sharks to extinction.
Combined with similar bans recently passed in Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and a number of coastal nations, AB 376 will help protect sharks and the health of our ocean by reducing the demand for fins that drives the slaughter of sharks. Sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, the bill has received tremendous and diverse support from California’s Asian Pacific leaders, (see AB 376 Coalition Governor Support, 9_7_11.pdf), celebrities, chefs, and thousands of Californians who care of about the health of oceans and its ecosystem.
A poll of Chinese Americans commissioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and conducted by a nationally recognized polling research firm showed that 70 percent of Chinese Americans interviewed support the proposed legislation banning shark fin.
Also, several California’s newspapers have editorialized supporting AB 376, including the San Diego Union Tribune (Pass the ban on shark fins, September 1, 2011), the Los Angeles Times (Take shark fins off the menu, August 25, 2011), the San Gabriel Tribune (Our View, Shark finning must become extinct, April 21, 2011), and the San Francisco Chronicle (Pass ban on shark fins, stop the slaughter, February 17, 2011).
Sharks need the protection that AB 376 will provide, and they need it now, so please click here to ask Governor Brown to sign this bill.
If you'd like to learn more, I've written a number of blogs about sharks and this bill:
Whale Shark, photo courtesy of Trodel via Flickr