Patt Morrison for March 10, 2011

Sharkfin soup bill bites back

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Sifu Renka/Flickr

Shark fin soup

Conservationists and some Chinese American leaders are clashing over California Assembly Bill 376, which would ban the possession and distribution of shark fins throughout California. The bill, introduced last month by Assemblymen Jared Huffman and Paul Fong, would prevent hundreds of restaurants from serving shark-fin soup, a 1,800-year-old Chinese delicacy that can cost up to $100 a bowl and is a mark of prestige at traditional weddings and banquets. Supporters of the bill say that increasing demand for the dish is a major cause of declining shark populations, and also promotes the illegal fishing practice known as “finning,” which involves cutting off the fins and tail of living sharks and tossing them back into the sea, where they ultimately starve to death. Opponents of the ban, which is also supported by a number of Asian American chefs and activists, say it tramples hundreds of years of Chinese tradition.

Guest:

Adam Keigwin, chief of staff for State Senator Leland Yee, D- District 8, the San Francisco and San Mateo areas

Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-22nd District (Mountain View); co-author of the bill to ban the possession & distribution of shark fins


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