2/14/11 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco CA
Contact David McGuire
California Legislators introduce Shark Bill for ocean protection
Assembly Bill 376 to protect sharks by limiting shark fin trade in California.
Assemblymembers Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) unveiled their landmark legislation Assembly Bill 376 at the California Academy of Sciences,to protect the ocean’s shark populations from extinction by ending California’s contribution to the shark fin trade.
The goal of AB 376 is to save sharks and the oceans by banning the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. As predators at or near the top of the marine food web, sharks help maintain the balance of marine life in our oceans. Research demonstrates that the massive depletion of sharks has cascading effects throughout the oceans’ ecosystems. Complicating matters, sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they are slow to reach reproductive maturity and produce very few offspring. Scientific studies indicate that as many as 73 million sharks are slaughtered each year for the shark fin trade. Shark fins are used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in (primarily) Chinese cuisine. Shark fin consumption has increased dramatically with the increase in affluence in the East, and the soup is commonly consumed at banquets and weddings. Despite detractors claims, there is established sustainable source of shark fins.
“Sharks are important to the ocean and to our culture.” Said Assemblyman Paul Fong. “We need to protect the ocean by eating sustainably.”
“We are losing sharks at an unsustainable rate and shark fin consumption is contributing to this loss. Through DNA analysis of fins purchased in San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences has identified endangered species of sharks for sale.” Said David McGuire, Academy Researcher and Director of the conservation non- profit Sea Stewards and one of the sponsors of the Bill.
Respected Asian Pacific American leaders, Chefs and advocates have all joined in support for AB 376. A new group titled The Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (APAOHA) was created to represent Asian Pacific Americans who support the proposed legislation to ban the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fin.
“Many openly agree that the main attraction of shark fin soup is its association with the image of affluence. Asian Pacific Americans that want to enjoy premium quality seafood have many sustainable alternatives to shark fin.” Said APAOHA spokesperson Judy Ki.
“Those who are profiting from the slaughter of sharks solely for their fins are misusing race and culture to defend the industry. Contrary to these claims, thousands of years of eastern philosophy emphasize the importance of harmony with nature to Asian and Pacific Islanders.”
“This is about ecosystem stability and ocean sustainability. AB 376 is taking the right steps towards solving this ocean crisis.” Concludes McGuire.
Also present were Sponsors APOHA The Humane Society US, and members from the Aquarium of the Bay, The Bay Institute, The California Academy of Sciences, The California Coastkeeper Alliance, COARE, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment California, The Food Empowerment Project, Heal the Bay, In Defense of Animals, NRDC, The Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, San Francisco Baykeepers, Tataki Restaurant, Wildcoast.
The Coalition includes Sharkfree Santa Barbara, Iemanya Oceanica, Dorsal Friends in Southern California,