On Tuesday, legislation aimed to stop the brutal and inhumane practice of shark finning passed unanimously from it first policy committee. Assembly Bill 376, authored by Assembly Members Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D- San Rafael) seeks ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins used in the traditional Chinese dish aptly name, shark fin soup.
Driving the market for shark fins is the demand for shark fin soup; an often very expensive dish associated with the affluent, and growing middle class, Chinese community. Shark finning is already banned in U.S. waters but restaurants are able to import fins from abroad. The greatest demand for the soup outside of Asia is in California, now motivating the widespread prohibited shark finning practice in international waters.
At a recent news conference, co-author Fong stated, “I grew up on shark fin soup, but when I found out the effect it is having on the shark population two years ago, I stopped eating it.” The Assembly Member further explained, “The sharks are at the top of the food chain, and they maintain the balance in the ecosystem. If sharks fall, it will be like a house of cards. The rest of the ocean will fall… We need to stop this practice at the marketplace.”
AB 376 will next be presented to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.