News item: Poll commissioned by Monterey Bay Aquarium finds there is overwhelming support among people of various age groups and backgrounds for legislation that would ban the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins in California.
Reaction: This should come as no surprise as people throughout the Golden State and across the U.S. and around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the threat shark finning poses to many species of sharks, and that the brutal practice of finning is conducted solely to satisfy demand for a Chinese delicacy known as shark-fin soup. But it's refreshing to know where people stand, and to know that many Chinese-Americans also favor the proposed ban.
The poll was conducted to gather opinion regarding Assembly Bill 376, authored by State Assembly members Paul Fong and Jared Huffman. It found that 76% of registered voters surveyed in a random sampling supported the proposed ban. Also, 70% of Chinese-American respondents favored the ban.
The sampling involved 600 registered voters and 218 Chinese-American voters across the state. It also revealed that 82% of respondents expressed concern about the impact finning has on shark species. Even more Chinese-Americans, 86%, were concerned. (Shark finning is believed to be responsible for the worldwide killing of tens of millions of sharks annually, a rate scientists believe is unsustainable.)
Shark finning, which entails the removal of fins and dumping the rest of the shark overboard, is illegal in U.S. waters. But the importation of shark fins into California ports, where they are widely distributed, is legal. AB 376 would remove California as a port of entry and remove shark-fin soup as a menu item more and more people are finding to be disgusting, based on what it represents.
Hawaii already has enacted a shark-fin ban, and efforts are underway in other U.S. states to enact similar bans. Because sharks are so vital to the health of the marine ecosystem, it's hoped this conservation movement will catch on nationally.
Said Michael Sutton, Monterey Bay Aquarium vice president, in the San Francisco Chronicle: "It's important in California because we have some of the largest Chinese markets outside of Asia. If California bans their sale and distribution, we're hoping this bill would stimulate Congress to ban the import of shark fins."
The aquarium blog, SeaNotes, posted a link for people to express support for the AB 376, and the following video that shows Hong Kong-born chef Kin Lui of Tataki Sushi Bar in San Francisco sharing his feelings on the finning issue. Enjoy: