News / USA

California Bans Shark Fin

Elizabeth Lee

People in California can no longer eat the Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup.  The Governor of California officially made it illegal to sell or possess shark fin.  The ban is a part of a growing movement worldwide to save the shark population.  But there are some Chinese who feel California's ban on shark fin is unfair and discriminatory.

Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese cooking that dates back hundreds of years.  The expensive dish has become increasingly popular as more Chinese are getting wealthy. But conservationists, like Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay, say the demand for shark fin is devastating the shark population.

"Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fin alone," noted Sikich.

Sikich says the practice of finning is popular among fishermen who would catch the shark, slice off the fin and throw the fish back into the ocean to die.  

Barbara Long at the Aquarium of the Pacific says when the shark population is put at risk, the health of the ocean is also in danger.

"Sharks are a top predator and play a very vital role in marine ecosystems," said Long.

Celebrities like Chinese basketball star Yao Ming and British tycoon Richard Branson are asking the Chinese to stop eating shark fin soup.  U.S. law requires all sharks that are brought on shore to have their fins attached. California now joins three other U.S. states for even stricter regulations that ban the sale of shark fin, a commodity that is worth as much as $700 a kilogram.

"Because the fin is driving the market value of the shark, it's most important to target that aspect, noted Sikich.  "California is the leading importer of shark fin to the U.S.  It's estimated that 85 percent of the shark fin that enters the U.S. comes through California."

But opponents of the California ban say the law unfairly targets the Chinese community because it only bans shark fin and not the entire shark.  California State Senator Ted Lieu voted against the ban.

"You can slaughter this highly vulnerable shark for fish and chips, but a Chinese restaurant couldn't take a shark fin from one of the hundreds of shark species are nowhere near endangered and to me that is completely discriminatory and very unfair," said Lieu.

Betty Tsang of the Asian Food Trade Association says California's shark fin ban is also wasteful.

"If the fisherman or the fishery industry get the shark in now they have to take out the shark fin and throw it away," said Tsang.  "They have to feed it to the dogs or throw it back into the sea. It is the reverse."

Many opponents of the shark fin ban say they would support a ban on the entire shark.  That's exactly what eight representatives ranging from Latin American countries to Micronesia have pledged. They signed a declaration at the United Nations to develop shark sanctuaries that would end the commercial fishing of sharks.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid