Tuesday, March 22, 2011

News Flash: California AB 376 Clears Committee

whitetip reef shark
Photo: Angelo Villagomez
Great news! California's AB 376, which would make it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade or distribute a shark fin, just passed the California Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife by a vote of 12-0.

The bill now moves to the Assembly floor, and from there on to the Senate.


From the Committee Report:
Supporters note that sharks are critical to the health and balance of the ocean ecosystem and their extinction would be devastating to the biodiversity of the oceans of the world. Demand for shark fin drives overfishing of sharks and has contributed significantly to recent shark population declines. Some species have been depleted by as much as 90% and over a third of shark species are threatened with extinction.

Supporters assert that currently there are no recognized sustainable shark fisheries, and note that sharks are particularly susceptible to overfishing due to low reproductive rates and their role as top predators in the marine food chain.

Supporters also assert that current state and federal laws have been ineffective in curbing the practice of shark finning as long as trade in fins is allowed to continue in response to market demand. While recognizing that shark finning has been important to Chinese culture for centuries, supporters assert collapse of ocean ecosystems must take precedence over cultural culinary heritage, noting also that many governments and businesses in the Pacific region have recognized the urgency to save sharks and implemented progressive protection measures.

Recreational fishing organizations assert that shark finning is inconsistent with sustainable fishing practices. Some supporters also emphasize the cruelty of shark finning, which often involves cutting off the fins and tails of sharks and throwing the fish back in the ocean alive where they are likely to die a slow death. Finally, some supporters note the high level of mercury in shark meat makes them unhealthy to eat.
The committee report also lists the support of the following (interestingly with no opposition listed):

Action for Animals
Animal Place
Aquarium of the Bay
Asian Americans for Community Involvement
Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance
Body Glove International
California Academy of Sciences
California Association of Zoos and Aquariums
California Coastal Commission
California Coastkeeper Alliance
California League of Conservation Voters
Coastside Fishing Club
Defenders of Wildlife
Environment California
Heal the Bay
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Natural Resources Defense Council
Pacific Environment
Reef Check California
San Francisco Baykeeper
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
Sea Stewards
Shark Savers
The Bay Institute
The Humane Society of the United States
The Sierra Club
The Sportfishing Conservancy
United Anglers of Southern California
Wild Coast/Costasalvaje


李銳華 Clement Lee said...

Great news! Thanks for the very prompt report.

Anonymous said...

Great News! Hope it will go ALL the way through & becomes the law.

Sabrina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabrina said...

This is awesome news! Now everyone needs to just pick up the phone and make sure their Senators know they support a ban on shark finning! This Facebook page explains how to do it, check it out! It takes like, two minutes. ;) http://www.causes.com/campaigns/158657?cause_id=119165

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