Bill to ban shark fins introduced in Sacramento

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File photo: Sharks swimming overhead - seen from the Ocean Voyager tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium.

A proposed ban on selling and using shark fins in California isn’t going over well in Asian communities. The fins comprise part of a traditional soup.

Two Northern California legislators have introduced a bill that would outlaw selling, buying or possessing shark fins. They’ve got the support of environmental groups and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which says tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins and left at sea each year.

Hawaii has passed a similar ban. There’s a federal prohibition on killing sharks solely for their fins, but backers of a state law say the federal rules aren’t well enforced.

Driving demand for fins is shark fin soup – a delicacy served since the Han Dynasty 1,800 years ago. It’s a staple at Chinese banquets and a restaurant specialty that costs as much as $50 a serving.

The market price for fins ranges up to $500 a pound. Marine biologists blame that on a collapse in the ocean whitetip shark population in the Gulf of Mexico.

State Senator Leland Yee, who’s running for mayor of San Francisco, calls the bill to ban shark fins an attack on Asian culture. The measure will soon wind its way through the Legislature.

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