The new legislation introduced last week by Assemblymember Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, AB 376, seeks to protect sharks by banning the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California.
Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins, mostly to make shark fin soup. The demand for shark fin soup often drives shark finning. In this wasteful and cruel practice, a live shark’s fins are sliced off while at sea and the remainder of the animal is thrown back into the water to die. Without fins, sharks will bleed to death, drown, or are eaten by other species. In recent decades some shark populations have declined by as much as 90 percent. Removing sharks from ocean ecosystems can destabilize these systems and even lead to reductions in populations of other species, including commercially-caught fish and shellfish species lower in the food web.
Pacific Communications Manager, Oceana
It’s truly gratifying to see the overwhelming support for banning the ugly shark fin trade (Assemblyman Paul Fong’s AB 376).
On a related note, I wish there were equal concern for the frogs and turtles in the Chinatown live food markets. Unlike shark fins, these animals pose serious health risks for those who eat them, as all are diseased and parasitized., with everything from salmonella, E. coli, pasturella (can be fatal in humans) to giardia, blood parasites, even one case of malaria. Bon appetit!
California annually imports two million American bullfrogs and some 300,000 turtles for human consumption. The frogs are commercially raised in Taiwan, the turtles all taken from the wild, depleting local populations. None are native here, and the exotics cause major harm when released into California waters. The majority of the frogs carry the dreaded chytrid fungus. Many are butchered while fully conscious.
Though the Dept. of Fish & Game has received nearly 4,000 letters in support of a ban on market frog/turtle importation, they have failed to act, for political reasons. Not acceptable. Legislation, lawsuits, perhaps a ballot initiative are in order.
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS, Oakland