WildAid partner Monterey Bay Aquarium released a poll that found 76% of California voters support making it illegal to sell shark fin soup in the state. The poll found that 70 percent of the 218 Chinese American voters surveyed favored a ban. “Chinese Americans feel no different than the rest of the community,” said Michael Sutton, the Aquarium's Vice-President. “This is a bipartisan issue - men and women, liberals and conservatives, all generations, voice concern for shark finning.”
Proponents argue that the world's growing appetite for shark fin soup, an expensive delicacy, is threatening the future of many species of sharks. In too many cases, they say, fishermen practice the "finning" technique, in which they catch or net the sharks, chop off the fin and toss the shark's bleeding body back into the ocean, sometimes while the animal is still alive.
WildAid coordinated a press conference on May 6, 2011 that included Asian Pacific American leaders, scientists, chefs, and environmental advocates united behind efforts to reduce global consumption of shark fin.
AB376 is a bill moving through the CA legislature that would ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins. The bill passed the Assembly on a floor vote 65-8 May 23 and is heading to policy committee in the Senate. California residents are encouraged to call your Senators to voice support for the bill.
Some Bay Area Chinese-American leaders, most notably mayoral candidate Leeland Yee, has initially come out against the ban – calling it an attempt to, "limit our heritage and our culture." However Board of Supervisor president David Chiu and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting (both candidates for mayor) support the ban. One of the bill's sponsors, Paul Fong, was himself born in China.
Also represented at the press conference was Chefs Against Shark Fins, a group of prominent Bay Area chefs raising awareness about the decline in shark populations and its impact on marine ecosystems. Alex Ong from Pan-Asian restaurant Betelnut said the broth in shark fin soup is what provides most of the flavor, and the fins themselves can be easily substituted by other seafood or even creatively disguised starch.
Take action by signing the pledge to end the sale of shark fins.