News / USA

    California Bans Shark Fin

    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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora