Category Archives: legislation

Shark Fins Out

On Valentine’s Day 2011, California Assemblymen Jared Huffman and Paul Fong introduced their bill making it illegal for anyone in the state to say “Be Mine” to shark fins. Specifically, the bill would make it a crime for “any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin…” The bill points out how sharks are slow to reproduce but integral to the ocean ecosystem and the health of marine biodiversity and that reducing demand in California markets may positively affect shark population. California’s bill follows legislation passed in HawaiiOregon and Washington states are also considering a similar legislative ban.

San Francisco Chronicle has good background on the story. It points out that California State Senator Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, is calling the bill an “attack on Asian culture.” There’s a weird quote from him in the article lamenting the fate of fins from all that shark steak sold at Costco (and inspiring new questions, like how much shark steak does this come out to? and what do they do with those fins?). It ignores the fact that Costco is probably dealing with different shark parts. The practice of “finning” involves cutting fins off live sharks and dumping the rest of the shark to swim with, and oh, be eaten by, the fishes. Continue reading