Aquarium Fishing for Signatures to Stop Shark Finning

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April 24, 2011; Source: The Bay Citizen | The nonprofit Aquarium of the Bay of San Francisco is spearheading an effort to end the practice of stripping sharks of their fins and then throwing them back into the sea to die. The aquarium recently launched a drive to get visitors to its Fisherman's Wharf exhibition spaces to sign postcards urging the California legislature to pass a bill outlawing the sale of shark fins in the state.

Describing the harvesting of fins as "barbaric," a "catastrophe," and a "threat to the health of the food web," Christina Slager, Director of Animal Care and Aquatic Exhibits, says she hopes the aquarium's efforts will encourage enough people "to do the right thing and oppose this brutal practice."

The bill, which has won approval in two committees, now faces a full vote in the California Assembly. If passed, it would require state senate approval. Senator Leland Yee, a candidate for San Francisco mayor, says he'll oppose the bill unless it's amended to allow the sale of fins from sharks that fisherman catch and keep.

According to Yee the current bill would deprive his Chinese constituents access to a traditional delicacy. As Yee put it, perhaps not so delicately, in a February press conference, "So those sharks that come in – what are you going to do with that fin?”—Bruce Trachtenberg

  • Eric Mills

    “Delicacy” is a bit of a stretch. “Over-priced and unsustainable luxury item” would be more apt. Shark fins are mostly just gristle, chewy and tasteless. An Asian friend told me you’d be better off eating Jell-O.

    Senator Yee’s unfortunate stance on this issue could cost him the mayor’s office. We’ve already massacred 90% of the world’s shark populations, throwing the entire ocean ecosystem into chaos. And for what? Soup & Superstition. (Many shark fin soup devotees think shark fins are an aphrodisiac and a cure for cancer. Wrong on both counts.) What is REALLY needed is a worldwide ban on the take of ALL sharks, for whatever purposes, at least until their depleted populations have been replenished.

    AB 376 is now on the Assembly floor, and support letters are needed NOW. All members may be written using this format:

    SAVE THE SHARKS! And protect the oceans in the process.

    Eric Mills, coordinator

  • Michael K

    I second Eric’s comment. Please also tell Leland Yee and other San Francisco mayoral candidates that you don’t want a mayor who opposes a ban on shark fin: (petition)

  • Pete Jah-mon

    OUTRAGE. I myself refuse to watch anymore videos after only seeing one or two during shark specials on tv. It’s that appalling. Not unlike the dolphin killing and the whaling.

    The $25-50k fines are outrageous too. Should be in the MILLIONS.

    It’s time to change with the times, and understand that some traditions, are less important than the future, a future for thier families.

  • Robert Hii

    Am guessing its all business interest groups and shark fin traders that elected this Senator Yee into office. Will some one pls! Let him know the issue we’re talking about here is not about Americans bringing in sharks on their fishing trips.This is about the millions of sharks killed in Asia,Africa,South America to feed the trade in shark fins.