Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mark Dion's "Survival of the Cutest (Who Gets On The Ark?)"

Photo: susanimal.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/dion-ark.jpg

The attractiveness of each animal directly relates to the amount of human concern for it.

Related: Nina Katchadourian's Continuum of Cute

Friday, October 7, 2011

California shark fin bill passed!


GOVERNOR BROWN ACTS TO PROTECT OCEANS AND ENVIRONMENT
10-7-2011

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation to protect the oceans and the environment. AB 376, by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), bans the possession and sale of shark fins in California. The practice of “finning” for culinary purposes has led to substantial declines in shark populations worldwide.

“The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans,” said Governor Brown. “Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”

While many countries have already banned the practice, it continues unabated in unregulated international waters. By banning the possession and sale of shark fins, California joins Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Guam in an effort to reduce demand and protect shark populations.

In addition to AB 376, Governor Brown also signed a companion bill by Assemblyman Fong, AB 853, which allows existing stocks of on-hand shark fins to be sold until July 1, 2013.

For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frequently asked questions about the California shark fin bill (in English and Chinese)

Useful documents on AB 376:

What is shark finning? (AB 376 FINNING FINAL.pdf)
Four Facts about AB 376 (AB 376 Four Facts.pdf)
Rebuttal to claims made about AB 376 (Rebuttals to Oppo Claims from Cmte_FINAL_0823.pdf)
Letter from scientists regarding sharks being at risk and the prevalence of shark finning (ScrippsInstitutionOfOceanographyAB376.pdf)
Fin Trade vs. Other Shark-Sourced Products (pdf)
Myth & Reality (pdf)
Poll: California's Chinese Americans Overwhelmingly Support Ban On Shark Fin Trade
Shark Champion Awards recognise efforts of Chinese campaigners: 丁立國, 萬捷, 張醒生
API support for shark fin bill
"My Word" by Christopher Chin

One-third of pelagic (open ocean) sharks are threatened with extinction. Reference: In the following IUCN report published by the Shark Specialist Group (http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/ssg_pelagic_report_final.pdf), Tables 4 lists the conservation status for all known pelagic shark species.

Claim: AB 376 is racially motivated, discriminates unfairly, or targets Chinese-Americans.

Truth: AB 376 was authored by a Chinese-American, and enjoys the support of an overwhelming number of Chinese-American groups and individuals, including prominent elected officials and two of San Francisco 's own mayoral candidates. To claim this is racially motivated is absolutely preposterous. While the bulk of shark fins in California may be consumed by Chinese-Americans, that is irrelevant.

Shark fins are simply a product that is decimating our shark populations and destroying our oceans.

In fact, Ding Liguo, deputy to the National People's Congress in China, proposed that China 's top legislature should ban the trade of shark fin. Ding said, "Only legislation can stop shark fin trading and reduce the killings of sharks".

It is NOT discriminatory to ban shark fin and not other shark products or all shark fishing, because the demand for shark fin is by far the largest cause for the killing of sharks [NOAA "2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress", p21-23*].

According to the data of shark fishing in Hawaii, the number of sharks fished before the federal shark-finning ban (1999) is 200-400 times the number of sharks fished a year after the ban (2001) [NOAA "2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress", p21-23*]. This shows dramatically that most sharks are fished predominantly for their fins, and that given the chance, many people will fish sharks predominantly for their fins.

Two weeks prior to the bill's introduction, a poll was conducted among a random sample of California voters to find out their thoughts about shark fins and the practice of shark finning. The vast majority of voters (82 percent) expressed concern about the impact of shark finning. Even more Chinese-American voters were concerned – 86 percent. 76 percent of all those surveyed, and 70 percent of the Chinese-Americans all supported a statewide ban on shark fins. That's not to indicate that the remainder opposed a ban; among Chinese-Americans, only 18 percent of voters oppose the ban and 12 percent expressed no opinion.

訛傳:AB376法案帶有種族歧視意涵,並不公平,而且是針對華裔美人而提的。

真相:AB376法案是由華裔美人議員所提,且獲得極多華裔美人組織和個別選民的全力支持,包括著名的民選官員以即兩位舊金山的市長候選人。說這個法案帶有種族歧視,是再也荒謬不過的事了。儘管加州大部份的魚翅是華裔美人在食用的,但是這並不是重點。魚翅是一種導致鯊魚數量急遽減少、摧毀我們海洋的一種可怕產品。

事實上,中國人大代表丁立國就曾經建議立法禁止魚翅貿易。他指出,「唯有立法才能停止魚翅交易,並且減少鯊魚的屠殺。」

禁止魚翅的買賣銷售,而未禁其他鯊魚產品及所有捕鯊活動,與歧視並無關連:這是因為對魚翅的需求,很明顯是鯊魚遭無節制捕獵的最主要原因(美國海洋暨大氣總署(NOAA)『2010年國會獵鯊割鰭報告』,第21到23頁)。

夏威夷鯊魚保護法案實施前和實施後兩種不同的捕鯊入港的紀錄,在在證實了一個現象:人類對魚翅的需求的確是捕鯊活動最主要的原因。在聯邦政府頒布獵鯊取翅禁令前(1999年),捕鯊量是禁令實施後(2001年)的四百倍。

在推出AB376兩個星期前,加州選民進行了一項民意調查,以便反映他們對於魚翅和獵鯊取鰭的看法。絕大多數的選民(百分之八十二)對於獵鯊取鰭這種殘忍作為表示擔憂。百分之八十六的華裔美人表示十分擔心。在所有接受民調的選民中,有百分之七十六的選民 – 以及百分之七十的華裔美人 – 表示支持州立法案禁止魚翅。這並不表示其他選民反對魚翅禁令;在所有的華裔美人中,只有百分之十八的選民反對AB376,而百分之十二不表示意見。


Claim: AB 376 targets only fins, and doesn't ban (a) other shark products, or (b) all shark fishing

Truth: This is true, but for good reason. It is the demand for shark fins that is fueling the rampant destruction of shark populations. Just as elephants were once hunted for their ivory tusks, sharks are often killled solely for their fins. If sharks were targeted for their nictitating membranes, as an imaginary example, this bill, as well we all the aforementioned legislation, would be addressing shark eye parts instead.

訛傳:AB376法案只針對魚翅,並不禁止其他的鯊魚產品或是所有捕鯊活動。

事實:的確如此,但是這個禁令的原因很充分。對魚翅的需求,正是全球鯊魚數量銳減的元兇。我們就從象牙的觀點來看好了:大象之所以遭屠殺,正是因為人類貪求牠們的象牙;而鯊魚也正是因著人類對魚翅的需求而大肆遭獵殺。

1. Illegal vs. legal shark fishing

Shark-fins are so much more valuable than any other part of the shark that it causes the large-scale indiscriminate, illegal killing of sharks.

1. 非法與合法捕鯊活動

魚翅比鯊魚身上的任何部份都要有價值得多,因此才會導致這麼大規模、非法的獵殺。

2. Shark fin is the most valuable part of the shark and contributes most to shark endangerment.

Shark fins are by far the most valuable part of the shark and can fetch $600 a pound or more in the shark fin trade. The vast majority sharks are targeted for their fins and the rest of the shark is discarded. Shark products, e.g. shark meat, have very low demand. Low prices or non-existent markets for shark meat discourage further retention. Indeed, shark meat exported from the United States goes for only $1 a pound — fifty times less than shark fin. Fins, by contrast, are highly valuable, and because they can be air-dried on the ship's rigging and stored compactly, they're essentially free money.

2. 鯊魚是鯊魚身上最有價值的部分,也是讓鯊魚瀕臨絕種的主因。

魚翅的價值遠比鯊魚身上所有的部分要高得多,在魚翅交易中,一磅的魚翅要價達六百美元,甚至可能更高。絕大部分的鯊魚都是因為漁夫貪圖牠們的魚鰭而犧牲的,一旦魚鰭遭割下,其餘的魚身都被丟回大海中。其他的鯊魚產品,像是鯊魚肉,是沒有市場價值的。由於鯊魚肉沒有市值,漁民就沒有興趣將整條鯊魚留在漁船上。來自美國的鯊魚肉一磅只賣一美元,比等重的魚翅要便宜五十倍。相較之下,魚翅的價值就高得多了,而由於魚翅可以掛在船上的索具上風乾,收納也很方便,魚翅基本上而言是一種不費吹灰之力就可以獲得的暴利。

3. Because shark fin contributes most to shark endangerment, ending the demand for shark fin will address the problem most efficiently.

Sharks are in serious trouble, and banning all shark fishing may not be a bad idea. However, that's a much larger endeavor, and affects many more stakeholders, including local (and currently managed and regulated) fishing efforts. Such a grand and overarching effort would involve a disproportionate amount of buy-in relative to the animals in question. In other words, sharks are most often killed for their fins, and ending that demand will save many more sharks than almost any other effort. This is something we can do NOW.

As an analogy, think about recycling efforts. Does it make sense to hold back an entire recycling program until you have perfected a waste stream management in place for every single item? No. Start where you can, and with an effort that you think will make a difference. In fact, whether it's with newspaper, glass, cans, or PET (1) containers, all municipalities involved in recycling start somewhere, and usually later add on.

That's what we're doing here. We're trying to do the most effective (and absolutely necessary) thing.

3. 由於魚翅是鯊魚遭大量屠殺的主因,禁魚翅是拯救鯊魚最有效率的作為。

鯊魚面臨前所未有的生存威脅,而全面禁止捕鯊不見得是個壞主意。然而,這種提議的工程浩大,會影響許多利害關係人,包括了地方(在目前有良善經營管理)的捕魚業者。這麼浩大且包羅萬象的提案,就我們現在在討論的鯊魚而言,會牽涉到相當可觀的購買和販售細節。換言之,由於鯊魚是因為魚鰭而遭屠殺,禁止魚翅的販售持有,會比現有其他作為能有效地拯救鯊魚,這也是我們現在可以辦得到的。

就以資源回收為例。我們難道要等到有一個完美的垃圾管理系統來處理所有的垃圾細項,才開始做資源回收嗎?當然不!你現在能做甚麼,就放手去做,只要對環境有益的任何作為,你就展開行動。不論是報紙、玻璃、罐頭,或是保特瓶,所有的資源回收都是從某個起點開始的,之後再慢慢增加項目。

這正是我們要作的。我們正要為鯊魚採取最有效率(且有絕對必要)的保護措施。


Claim: If imports are the problem, than we should just ban imports and allow shark fins obtained from domestic fisheries to be sold.

Truth: If imports were to be banned, and only domestic shark catches were used as a source for fins, it could divert an extreme amount of pressure on local sharks to meet the demand of the shark fin trade.

According to the California Dept of Fish & Game, in 2009, less than 321,000 pounds of shark were landed commercially in California. Since fins represent approximately 5% of a shark's body weight, that's not really a lot compared to the fin stocks you find on Californiashelves, let alone those that are passing through Californiaports on their way to other U.S.destinations.

Since locally caught supply would pale in comparison to the quantity seen in imports, the scarcity would provide disparity in the marketplace, and would likely drive prices up, further putting pressure on the local fisheries. Such situations are fertile ground for black market dealings and increased systemic abuses.

Also, looking at past commercial efforts targeting shark species, one can't help but be reminded of the aptly-named soupfin shark. Epitomizing the definition of UNsustainable, the fishery collapsed as the populations were quickly decimated. That was nearly 70 years ago and populations have still not yet recovered, and are still considered threatened.

Moreover, this solution is legally infeasible; federal law and international trade rules prevent California from banning shark fin imports.

We can't prevent the importation of fins from illegally-finned sharks due to international trade laws. This means that we can't prevent illegal fins from entering the country. It is very difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal fins. Thus the only way to stop illegal fins from entering the market is to ban all fins, both legal and illegal.

Illegal shark fins are very difficult and expensive to distinguish from legal ones. Using legal trade to cover illegal activity is a very common method. Say I'm a restaurant owner and I buy 'legal' shark fins, and at the same time I slip in illegal shark fins, to make shark fin soup for my customers. To get away with this, when the inspector comes, all I have to do is to show her/him my receipts for the 'legal' fins I had purchased, which I update daily to approximately match the weight of the illegal fins. I'm sure people can think of other ways...

People are ingenious at finding ways to get around rules to profit off of shark fins. As another example, after the sale of foie gras was banned in Chicago, restaurants gave away foie gras for free to customers who bought an expensive salad, to get around the "no-selling" rule.

There is no way to track the chain of custody of individual shark fins without exorbitant cost and without inviting laundering and fraud. The state has no money to cover the cost. A label/receipt/form is not a real option, because these types of documents do not accurately track chain of custody (especially for high-priced luxury items like shark fin or elephant ivory) and they are subject to massive fraud. Such schemes have been tried and failed disastrously to protect species.

Sharks around the world are in trouble as long as the shark fin trade is allowed to continue.

訛傳:若魚翅進口是問題所在,那麼我們就只需禁止鯊魚的進口就好,且准許當販賣地漁市所捕獲的鯊魚魚鰭即可。

事實:如果禁止使用進口鯊魚,卻仍允許地方捕獲的鯊魚來滿足市場對魚翅的需求,這將對地方海域生存的鯊魚造成極大的生存威脅。

根據加州漁獵部門在2009年所公布的數據,在加州,商業用鯊魚漁獲量還不到三十二萬一千磅。由於魚翅佔鯊魚重量的百分之五,你就可以算得出來,在加州中藥店架上所販賣的魚翅乾貨,其實僅有少數的鯊魚是來自當地的漁獲量,而那些經過加州各漁港進口到美國其他地方的魚翅,自然即有極少數是屬於當地漁貨量所捕獵的鯊魚了。

由於地方所捕獲的鯊魚跟進口鯊魚漁獲量相距甚遠,而地方捕獲鯊魚量既然不夠應付需求,會加劇市場的價格差異,使得價格上揚,讓地方漁業捕鯊的壓力遽增。這種狀況會黑市的魚翅交易更嚴重,使得系統更遭濫用。

另外,當我們檢視之前以鯊魚為主的商業政策,我們不得不想到所謂的魚翅羹鯊魚-獵捕這種鯊魚的商業活動,全然缺少可續性可言;魚翅羹鯊魚的漁業不但完全崩解,而這種鯊魚的數量也大量減少。這是七十年前的事情了,而這種鯊魚的數量還未恢復,依然飽受威脅。

除此之外,這種作法在法律上是根本不可行的;聯邦和國際貿易法妨礙了加州禁止魚翅的進口。

由於國際貿易法的緣故,我們無法阻止非法遭屠殺之鯊魚身上所砍下的魚鰭進口到加州來。這意味著我們無法阻止非法魚翅進入美國。分別合法和非法的魚翅,是困難重重的工作。因此,禁止非法魚翅進入市場的唯一方法,就是禁止所有魚翅-無論合法或非法與否-的買賣、交易和持有。

要分辨魚翅的合法性非常困難而且昂貴。用合法買賣行為來掩護非法活動是司空見慣的事。假設我是餐廳老闆,我購買合法魚翅,卻又同時偷偷走私非法魚翅到我餐廳來作魚翅羹供給客戶食用。為了要掩護這種行為,我只要在檢查官員來訪時給他們看我購買的合法魚翅的收據就好了。我每天都會更新這些收據上的明細,使明細上的非法魚翅重量符合收據上的標示即可。漏洞到處可鑽。

人類總有方法鑽法律漏洞從魚翅上獲利。再舉個例子,當芝加哥禁止鵝肝後,餐廳即提供免費額肝給那些購買昂貴沙拉的客戶,避開「禁賣鵝肝」的規定。

要追蹤每片魚翅的來源和擁有者,需要投注昂貴的成本,而在過程中也容易導致洗錢和詐欺。加州沒有財政資源來補貼魚翅追蹤活動。而標籤/收據/表格也不足成為追蹤魚翅來源的利器,因為這類的文件並無法實際追蹤魚翅保管過程的每個細節(特別就象牙和魚翅等高價的奢侈品而言),而且這類的文件很容易遭複製或竄改。前人均試過這種系統,但是都效果不彰,完全無法保護瀕危動物物種。

只要魚翅交易還持續著,全世界所有的鯊魚均免不了可怕的生存危機,牠們的生存危機也就是你的生存危機。


Claim: We should allow fins to be taken from a sustainable shark fishery.

Truth: The concept of sustainable shark fishing is an interesting one. Certainly, landing sharks with fins naturally attached is more desirable than finning, but it's hard to qualify a fishery as sustainable when the animals in question take so long to reach maturity, reproduce so seldom, and have so few young when they do breed. As such, they're inherently susceptible to overfishing, and nowhere is the world is there a shark fishery that's considered "sustainable."

訛傳:我們應准許來自永續鯊魚漁業的魚翅。

事實:所謂的永續鯊魚漁業,是個很有趣的概念。的確,全魚(仍保留魚翅)入港比獵鯊割翅要好得多,但是鯊魚要歷經多年才會成熟,鮮少繁殖,而且孕育的幼鯊少之又少。就是因為如此,牠們在先天上就很容易成為過度捕撈的犧牲品,而且全世界沒有任何鯊魚漁業是真的「永續」。


Claim: Shark fin bans are not necessary, since we already have the Federal Shark Conservation Act.

Truth: While the Federal Shark Conservation Act prohibits the finning of sharks in U.S.waters, this only affects sharks caught in U.S. waters by appropriately registered vessels. This is a wonderful piece of legislation and helps protect sharks in federal jurisdictions, but, unfortunately, this has little to do with the global fin trade. As previously mentioned, the fins sold in California are culled from sharks caught in other fisheries, and are processed elsewhere before coming to the U.S. as an unidentifiable fin.

Since such a large percentage of sharks are already considered endangered, and since the practice of finning is conducted without regard to species, age, or gender, it is no surprise that even endangered species are being slaughtered. DNA sequencing of a recent sampling of fins for sale in San Francisco revealed that endangered species, such as the great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), are represented on San Francisco shelves. In fact, the random sampling of fins by the California Academy of Sciences found that one-half of the sampled fins were from threatened species.

訛傳:禁止魚翅是不必要的,因為美國已經有聯邦鯊魚保護法案了。

事實:聯邦政府的鯊魚保護法案禁止在美國海域獵鯊割鰭,但是注意:這個法案僅僅會影響那些有註冊營業漁船在美國海域所捕獲的鯊魚。這個法案立意良好,能保護聯邦司法管轄範圍下的鯊魚,很遺憾地,這個法案對全球魚翅交易的影響少之又少。如之前所提,在加州所販售的魚翅,都是從其他漁業業者所殘忍捕殺的鯊魚身上所割下的,在進入美國之前就先處理過了,因此是無法辨認來源的魚翅。

由於大部分的鯊魚都瀕臨絕種,而由於漁民在獵鯊割鰭時根本不會考慮到鯊魚的物種、年齡、或是性別,瀕絕的鯊魚當然也會遭毫無節制的屠殺。近日一項在舊金山販賣的魚翅上所貼的染色體排序顯示,極度瀕臨絕種的大雙髻鯊的魚翅,居然在舊金山中國乾貨店也找得到。事實上,根據加州科學學院的染色體排序研究,目前所出售的魚翅,有一半都是取自瀕臨絕種的鯊魚。


Claim: California law already bans finning - we do not need additional laws.

Truth: Yes, while finning is illegal in California and U.S. waters, these are not the fins that are being consumed. Banning shark fins in Californiawill literally help save sharks around the world.

訛傳:加州法律已經禁止獵鯊割鰭了,我們不需要其他的法規。

事實:沒錯,雖然獵鯊割鰭在加州和美國海域是違法的,但是在這些海域所獲取的魚翅並非是加州人所食用之魚翅的主要來源。加州若立法禁止魚翅的買賣持有,其實就等於幫助拯救全世界的鯊魚。


Claim: AB 376 is stringent and punitive; instead, the State should focus on education.

Truth: Education and Awareness are both great. COARE maintains both among its tenets... unfortunately, in this case education is simply not enough. Relying solely on education as an approach to this problem is akin to suggesting that drugs don't have to be illegal; we could simply teach people not to use them.

Granted, younger generations are more aware of the plight of the ocean, but we cannot wait for the generational shift, and we must act now. Many people are learning about sharks and this critical need for conservation as a result of this legislative effort.

訛傳:AB376法案既嚴格又苛刻。加州應該多注意關於鯊魚的教育才是。

事實:教育和宣導都是很好的理念。COARE把兩個都列為主要目標,但遺憾的是,就鯊魚保育而言,單單只有教育是不足的。光靠教育來解決鯊魚瀕臨絕種的問題是徒然的,這跟我們提倡不要把毒品非法化,但是教導人別使用毒品的道理是一樣的道理。

年輕的一代對於海洋所面臨的各種問題確實更具概念,但是我們沒有時間等世代的轉移來改變觀念,我們現在就得採取行動。有愈來愈多人開始明瞭鯊魚所遭受的苦難,也知道立法保護鯊魚的迫切性。


Claim: Most sharks are not threatened with extinction.

Truth: It is easy to see how someone might make this claim, since "only" one third of all pelagic sharks are considered threatened with extinction. Only? First, the fact that one-third of the known shark species are considered threatened should give anyone pause. That is not an insignificant number - especially when you take into consideration their crucial role in the ocean. Additionally, that statistic should not be taken to suggest that the other two-thirds are abundant. In fact, the IUCN considers an additional 25% of the pelagic sharks to be "data-deficient" – meaning that we do not have enough historical or current data to assess their populations. Some of those populations may turn out to be fine, but some may also be critically endangered.

To use this argument as an excuse to brazenly continue fishing with impunity is not only short-sighted, but unconscionable.

訛傳:大部分的鯊魚並沒有瀕臨絕種。

事實:我們不難了解為什麼有人會這樣誤傳,因為畢竟「只有」三分之一的遠洋鯊魚正遭致絕種威脅。但…真的是「只有」嗎?第一,三分之一的已知鯊魚魚種面臨生存危機,這是事實,且是個警訊。當你考量到鯊魚對海洋生態平衡的重要性時,你就會知道這個數據其實是非常可怕的。此外,我們也不該誤以為其餘的三分之二魚種仍為數眾多。事實上,除了三分之一瀕臨絕種的鯊魚之外,國際自然保護聯盟(IUCN)還將另外的百分之二十五物種列為「缺乏資訊」-這意思是我們對這百分之二十五的鯊魚魚種還十分陌生,缺乏足夠的歷史或現有資訊來評估牠們的數量。有些數量可能堪稱足夠,但事實上,有些相當可能已經面臨絕種。

用這個藉口來持續毫無節制地獵殺鯊魚既短視且荒謬。


Claim: Don’t ban the shark fin trade -we should ban the killing of listed endangered sharks, but allow unlisted sharks to be killed for their fins.

Truth: Strict laws already protect listed sharks, yet listed and unlisted sharks are still slaughtered for their high-priced fins and the current demand trajectory for fins puts both at risk. It is impossible to identify whether a shark fin was removed from a listed or unlisted shark without costly and time-consuming DNA analysis conducted for each fin. This is not feasible, making this proposal unenforceable. Moreover, as previously noted, some sharks not yet listed as threatened may very well be in dangerous decline.

訛傳:不要禁止魚翅交易-我們應該禁止被列管為有瀕臨絕種危機的鯊魚,且仍繼續容許漁夫獵捕未被列管的鯊魚以便取鰭。

事實:被列管為有瀕臨絕種危機的鯊魚已經有嚴格的法律在保護牠們了,但不管有沒有列管,由於魚翅的利潤驚人,所有的鯊魚仍遭大規模獵捕割鰭,而目前的市場需求使得所有鯊魚-無論列管與否-都面臨絕種危機。要檢查每一片魚翅的基因組合,以辨識該魚鰭是從列管還是未被列管的鯊魚上割下來,不但花費可觀,也很費時,是根本不可能的任務。這個提議不可行,也無從執行。還有,如上所提,那些尚未被列管為保護物種的鯊魚,數目很有可能已經在大幅下降了。


Claim: Banning shark fins will hurt small businesses.

Truth: Shark fin soup is most often served in banquet settings and at official celebratory events like a Chinese wedding. Smaller restaurants serve shark fin soup much less often than larger banquet halls do. However, to compete with larger restaurants, small restaurants often feel obliged to offer shark fin soup just in case someone requests it, lest they lost potential customers.

Some restaurateurs would prefer, for philosophical or ethical reasons, not to be obligated to offer it, and some would simply prefer to avoid it since it is an expensive ingredient to stock for infrequent use. In either case, we have had proprietors tell us "just make it illegal so we don't have to sell it." AB 376 helps maintain a level playing field.

訛傳:禁止魚翅會傷到小型企業。

事實:魚翅羹是在宴會和中國式婚禮等正式場合才會喝得到。比起大型宴會廳,小餐廳是不常供應魚翅羹的。然而為了要與大型宴會廳競爭,小餐廳會覺得有必要在菜單上也加入這道菜,以便在客人點這道菜時能夠滿足顧客需要,免得失去客戶。

有些餐廳業者為了哲學和道德緣故,寧願拒絕供應這道餐點;有些餐廳因為魚翅昂貴,就乾脆完全不供應。無論如何,有業者告訴我們:「快禁售魚翅吧,這樣我們就沒有壓力要供應魚翅羹了。」AB376法案讓市場競爭維持公平。


Claim: AB 376 will hurt the economy and kill jobs.

Truth: For those restaurants that serve it, shark fin soup is only one seldom ordered item on a menu with a plethora of other and more common choices. Even at banquets and celebrations where the soup is featured, it is only a single serving among nine or ten courses. End consumers and restaurants alike each purchase their fins from grocery stores, trading companies, and seafood suppliers which sell a myriad of other products; shark fins are far from their sole source of income.

Moreover, the fins sold in California markets and shops and the fins served in California restaurants do not come from sharks caught in California(or even U.S.) waters by California or U.S. fishermen; the sharks are captured and finned by vessels all around the world, and their fins are processed elsewhere before import to California.

訛傳:AB376會重創景氣,損害工作機會。

事實:對那些供應魚翅羹的餐廳而言,魚翅羹只是菜單上一道少有人點的菜色;菜單上還有許多美味可口的佳餚可供選擇。即使魚翅羹會出現在宴會或是婚宴上,它也只是九或十道菜裡面的一道而已。顧客和餐廳從雜貨店、貿易公司和海鮮供應商購買魚翅,而這些業者還有許多產品可供選擇,魚翅並非是業者主要收入來源。

還有,那些在加州市場和商店裡販售的魚翅並非來自加州(也非來自美國)海域所捕獲的鯊魚;全球各地漁船到處去獵捕鯊魚割鰭,在別處處理完這些魚翅之後才進口到加州。


Claim: AB 376 fuels anti-immigrant or anti-minority sentiment.

Truth: While Chinese-Americans consume more shark fin than other groups, asking them to stop is not discriminatory or defamatory to that, or any other group of minorities.

In fact, it gives people the opportunity to do the right thing. This is a chance for Chinese-Americans to shine - to evolve beyond an outdated practice. Just as footbinding and indentured servitude are no longer tolerated, shark fin soup should be similarly eschewed. What may, however, inflame potential anti-minority sentiment, is a stubborn insistence on selfish adherence to a practice that is literally destroying the health of the ocean. Continuing on a course of opposition to AB 376 simply makes the bill's opponents appear self-centered and opportunistic.

One of the best ways to begin protecting sharks is to stop shark finning, and the best possible solution to curb shark finning at this point is to stem the demand through legislative bans.

Perhaps the best analogy for the shark fin trade is the ivory trade. Our experience with ivory demonstrates that it's impossible to end illegal shark-finning without banning shark fin. After 20 years of trying to "strictly-regulate" the ivory trade, African elephant populations declined by 50%. It was only after ivory was banned did the populations of elephants stabilized.

訛傳:AB376法案將煽動反移民和反少數族群情結。

事實:華裔美人的確比其他族群更常食用魚翅羹,但是籲請他們-或是其他食用魚翅羹的民族-停止食用這道菜與種族歧視無關。事實上,請他們停止食用魚翅羹,是給大家一個機會「有所為」。這是華裔美人發光發熱的好時機,得以成長進步,向這個過時的傳統道別。裹小腳和簽賣身契的奴役制度不再見容於社會,魚翅羹也應該被逐步淘汰。固執且自私地持守一個正在摧毀我們海洋生態的傳統-獵鯊割鰭-才會煽動反少數民族情節。持續反對AB376,讓反對者顯得自私短視又投機取巧。

保護鯊魚的最好方式之一,就是停止獵鯊割鰭,而目前停止獵鯊割鰭的最佳解決方式,就是透過立法禁止魚翅。

禁止象牙交易,應該是支持禁止魚翅交易的最佳範例。我們過往處理象牙走私的經驗,證實了一點:若不禁止魚翅,就不可能禁止非法獵鯊取鰭的血腥作為。象牙交易經過二十年的「嚴格管制」後,非洲的大象數量反而少了一半。只有在禁止象牙交易之後,大象數量才得以穩定下來。


Claim: We could farm sharks instead.

Truth: Due to their reproductive biology, which includes late onset of maturity, few young and long gestation periods, sharks cannot be farmed and do not stand up to a focused fishery. Some sharks take up to 25 years to reach sexual maturity, have a long gestation period (upwards of a year), and only have a few offspring in the end. Animals at the top of the food chain, such as sharks, have few natural predators, and as a result, they are extremely sensitive to fishing pressures, and are slow to recover from overfishing. Many shark species have declined in population by more than 90% in the last 50 years. Some species may have declined by as much as 97-99% in the last 35 years.

訛傳:我們可以養殖鯊魚。

事實:鯊魚的生殖規律如下-牠們成熟得晚,所繁殖的幼鯊數目十分有限,懷孕期非常長。由於這些原因,人類無法養殖鯊魚,鯊魚也無法在任何養殖場存活。有些鯊魚要二十五年才能達性徵成熟,懷孕期很長(長達一年),所產的幼鯊少之又少。類似鯊魚的這種食物鏈上頂級的掠食者,少有天敵,因此漁業活動會對牠們的數量造成極大的傷害,牠們的數量也很難從過度捕撈中復原。在過去五十年來,許多鯊魚物種的數量已經驟減了百分之九十以上。有些鯊魚魚種在過去三十五年減少了百分之九十七到九十九。

* The NOAA "2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress", in pages 21-23, dramatically demonstrates the great demand for fins. NOAA reports that in 1999 the majority of shark weight landed in Hawaii were finned sharks (2870 metric tons). In 2000, a half-year finning ban reduced the amount of shark weight landed in Hawaii to about half (1450 mt). A full-year ban in years 2001 and beyond (150, 180, etc. mt) reduced the shark landings to about 1 / 20th of the 1999 rate. The striking feature is that the numbers are by weight, so the number of sharks fished decreased by much more. It is commonly assumed that the fins weigh no more than five percent of the total shark weight (page 2), so the number of sharks fished reduced to as little as 1 / 400th of the 1999 values with the enactment of the shark finning ban.


Reasons to ban shark fin 禁止魚翅的原因

Endangered
1/3 of the species of open-ocean sharks are at risk of extinction just from the last 20-30 years of eating shark fin soup, a practice which kills 26-73 million sharks a year. At this rate, these sharks, which have been around for hundreds of millions of years, could become extinct in our lifetime.

These are the bigger sharks, the top predators of the ocean ecosystem, and thus considered by scientists to be 'keystone' species, meaning that removing them causes the whole structure to collapse. For this reason, the prospect of a food chain minus its apex predators may mean the end of the line for many more species, and the collapse of important fish and shellfish fisheries.

鯊魚瀕臨絕種
過去二三十年來由於魚翅羹的市場需求,導致遠洋中的鯊魚魚種有三分之一面臨絕種威脅。魚翅羹每年要犧牲兩千六百至七千三百萬隻鯊魚。照這種速率,這些生活在地球上四億多年的古老美麗生物,絕對會在我們這一代中永遠消失。

我們現在在討論的是大型鯊魚,科學家將牠們視為所謂的「基礎」物種,這意味著:沒有鯊魚,整個海洋生態系統即會崩解。一個失去了頂級掠食者的食物鏈,會產生可怕的連鎖效應:更多的物種會瀕危,而漁業和貝類養殖業也會整個垮掉。

Wasteful
Only the fins are eaten while the rest of the shark is discarded, for the vast majority of the 73 million sharks (analogous to ivory).

浪費
就每年所犧牲的七千三百萬隻鯊魚而言(我們再來想想上述的象牙比喻)整隻鯊魚除了魚鰭有人食用之外,其餘的魚身被丟回海裡。這種浪費多麼令人髮指。

Cruel
Due to shark-finning being done illegally in many countries (because they fetch huge profits), numerous sharks have their fins cut off while alive, thrown back into the ocean where they take many days to die.

殘忍
由於許多國家是非法獵鯊取鰭(獵鯊的獲利可觀),無數的鯊魚被活活地砍下魚鰭,而活魚身就被丟回海裡,這些沒有魚鰭的鯊魚要經歷多日的痛苦折磨才會死亡。

Not beneficial nutritionally
Sharks, being top predators, have a high level of mercury which is a neurotoxin, which can lead to problems with the brain, central nervous system, kidney, liver, and infertility/sterility in men.

魚翅毫無營養可言
鯊魚是頂級的掠食者,身上含有大量的汞。汞是一種神經毒素,會對人腦、中樞神經、腎臟、肝造成極大傷害,對男性則會造成不孕風險。

Alternative suggestions to banning shark fin, such as eating only sharks which are used whole, caught sustainably, are not enforceable. Similar to the ivory trade, the demand has to be cut, at least for now until the rate of depletion of sharks is slowed down.

其他替代魚翅禁令的建議,像是食用整隻鯊魚、透過永續方法所捕獲的鯊魚,都無從實施起。這跟象牙交易一樣,我們現在需要斷止市場對魚翅的需求,讓全球鯊魚數量有恢復的機會和希望。

Source: blog.coare.org/2011/05/to-ban-or-not-to-ban-that-is-question.html by Christopher Chin (translated by Shannon Hu)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

California shark fin bill passes the CA Senate and is on Governor's desk

We need to show the Governor that there is tremendous public support for AB 376. Please write, email and call (in order of effectiveness) Governor Jerry Brown and urge him to sign AB 376 into law.

Mailing address: Governor Jerry Brown, c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814
Email: http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
Ph: (916) 445-2841

About the California shark fin bill (AB 376)

Frequently asked questions (To ban or not to ban)
What is shark finning? (AB 376 FINNING FINAL.pdf)
Four Facts about AB 376 (AB 376 Four Facts.pdf)
Rebuttal to claims made about AB 376 (Rebuttals to Oppo Claims from Cmte_FINAL_0823.pdf)


Here is a sample letter:

The Honorable Edmund “Jerry” Brown
Governor of California
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Date: September 17, 2011

RE: AB 376: Shark Protection Act — SUPPORT

Dear Governor Brown,

I would like to urge you to sign Assembly Bill 376, the Shark Protection Act.

As many as 73 million sharks are killed each year to supply fins for the international shark fin trade. The value of shark fin far exceeds other shark parts, providing an overwhelming economic driver to hunt as many sharks as possible for their fins. This has caused 1/3 of the species of open-ocean sharks to be at risk of extinction just within the last 20-30 years.

These are the bigger sharks, the top predators of the ocean ecosystem, and thus considered by scientists to be 'keystone' species, meaning that removing them causes the whole structure to collapse. For this reason, the prospect of a food chain minus its apex predators may mean the end of the line for many more species, and the collapse of important fish and shellfish fisheries.

The shark fin trade has many parallels to the ivory trade, and our experience with ivory shows that the only way to end illegal shark-finning is to end the demand for shark fin.

There is broad support for AB 376. Polling shows that 76% of California voters support AB 376, and 70% of California Chinese American voters support AB 376. Also, a 2011 survey in Hong Kong shows that attitudes are shifting in Asia as well. In China, there is increasing awareness of declining shark populations and a growing movement to stop the consumption of shark fin. In fact, Ding Liguo, deputy to the National People's Congress in China, has proposed that China's top legislature ban the trade of shark fin.

Approximately 85% of all U.S. dried shark fin imports come through California, and the U.S. accounts for 70% of all shark fin imports outside of Asia. By ending the trade in shark fin, California can help shut down the international shark fin trade, and motivate other countries to pass similar legislation.

Thank you for putting California in a lead position to protect sharks from extinction.

Sincerely,


Name:
Address:


09.06.2011:
California shark fin bill (AB 376) passes the CA Senate 25-9. View the session at: www.calchannel.com/channel/viewVideo/3009 (starts at 01:07:30). It was amended by a rider bill AB 853. AB 376 now heads to Governor Brown's desk. Thank you everyone for your support of AB 376!

AYES: Alquist, Anderson, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Calderon, Corbett, DeSaulnier, Emmerson, Evans, Gaines, Harman, Kehoe, La Malfa, Leno, Liu, Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod, Pavley, Runner, Simitian, Steinberg, Strickland, Vargas, Wolk, Wyland

NOES: Cannella, Hernandez, Huff, Lieu, Price, Rubio, Walters, Wright, Yee

NO VOTE RECORDED: Correa, De León, Dutton, Fuller, Hancock, Padilla

Calif. lawmakers pass bill banning shark-fin trade Associated Press Sep 6, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill

 
 
Photos (T-B, L-R): Supporting AB 376 at SF Mayoral debate (photo by Rebecca Lee), protesting at store that sells shark fin in SF Chinatown, sharking at Embarcadero Center by Bay Bridge, sharking at Portsmouth Square in SF Chinatown

How you can help to pass the California shark fin bill AB 376

1. Call your state senator in support of AB 376. To find your senator and contact info, type in your zip code on this page http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.

2. It's a quick and easy call: "I'm ___ and I'm a member of your district and would like to urge the Senator to support AB 376, the bill to ban shark fin in California." That's it! It takes only ONE MINUTE.

3. Get your friends and family to call their state senator.

Thank you!

Update 9/1/2011: AB 376 is up for 3rd reading but not voted upon yet (it's for a reason... the author can pick a favorable time for the bill to get voted on). CA Senate will reconvene Tues at noon. Please call again Tues morning, or leave a message before that.
Update 8/29/2011: AB 376 will be voted upon this week. Please call Tues or Wed!
More updates: www.facebook.com/ChineseforAB376


08.25.11:

AB 376 passed out of the CA Senate Appropriations Committee 5-2! Ayes: Kehoe, Alquist, Pavley, Price, Steinberg. Noes: Walters, Lieu. Abstained: Emmerson, Runner. No amendments were made.

Watch videos of AB 376 hearings, both live and past, at www.calchannel.com (videos of past hearings, e.g. 8/15, are here).

Now it goes to the full Senate within the next 2 weeks. Let's not let up until the vote passes the Senate. Keep up the pressure on your senators – call your senator today: www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

AB 376: status, legislative process of how it goes from a bill to law

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill

 
High-res photo collages can be downloaded at Shark Fin Photo Mob

Hearing for California shark fin bill, AB 376, is set for 8/25 at the Senate Appropriations Committee. Please call your state senator (www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html) and urge YES vote on AB 376 (calling is much more effective). Then call the members of the Senate Appropriation Committee. In addition, if you have time, send an email to reenforce your call.

Christine Kehoe (Chair) (916) 651-4039 senator.kehoe@sen.ca.gov
Mimi Walters (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4033 senator.walters@sen.ca.gov
Elaine Alquist (916) 651-4013 senator.alquist@sen.ca.gov
Bill Emmerson (916) 651-4037 senator.emmerson@sen.ca.gov
Ted W. Lieu (916) 651-4028 senator.lieu@sen.ca.gov
Fran Pavley (916) 651-4023 senator.pavley@sen.ca.gov
Curren Price (916) 651-4026 senator.price@sen.ca.gov
Sharon Runner (916) 651-4017 senator.runner@sen.ca.gov
Darrell Steinberg (916) 651-4006 senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov

It's a quick call e.g. "I'm ___, I'm Chinese American and a California resident, and I would like to urge Senator ___ to vote YES on AB 376 without amendments."

Thank you!



It is NOT discriminatory to ban shark fin and not other shark products or all shark fishing, because the demand for shark fin is by far the largest cause for the killing of sharks (NOAA "2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress", pages 21-23 *).

The only way to end illegal shark-finning is to ban shark fin:

1. We can't prevent the importation of fins from illegally-finned sharks due to international trade laws. This means that we can't prevent illegal fins from entering the country. It is very difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal fins. Thus the only way to stop illegal fins from entering the market is to ban all fins, both legal and illegal.

2. Illegal shark fins are very difficult and expensive to distinguish from legal ones. Using legal trade to cover illegal activity is a very common method. Say I'm a restaurant owner and I buy 'legal' shark fins, and at the same time I slip in illegal shark fins, to make shark fin soup for my customers. To get away with this, when the inspector comes, all I have to do is to show her/him my receipts for the 'legal' fins I had purchased, which I update daily to approximately match the weight of the illegal fins. I'm sure people can think of other ways...

People are ingenious at finding ways to get around rules to profit off of shark fins. As another example, after the sale of foie gras was banned in Chicago, restaurants gave away foie gras for free to customers who bought an expensive salad, to get around the "no-selling" rule.

3. There is no way to track the chain of custody of individual shark fins without exorbitant cost and without inviting laundering and fraud. The state has no money to cover the cost. A label/receipt/form is not a real option, because these types of documents do not accurately track chain of custody (especially for high-priced luxury items like shark fin or elephant ivory) and they are subject to massive fraud. Such schemes have been tried and failed disastrously to protect species.

If someone disagrees that it's impossible to end illegal shark-finning without banning shark fin, please provide a counter-example of a scheme that would work. Show how such a scheme would be enforced, and how it would deal with imported, illegally tagged fins.

* The NOAA "2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress", in pages 21-23, dramatically demonstrates the great demand for fins. NOAA reports that in 1999 the majority of sharks landed in Hawaii were finned sharks (2870 metric tons). In 2000, a half-year finning ban reduced the amount of shark weight landed in Hawaii to about half (1450 mt). A full-year ban in years 2001 and beyond (150, 180, etc. mt) reduced the shark weight landed to about 1 / 20th of the 1999 rate. The striking feature is that the numbers are by weight, so the number of sharks fished decreased by much more. It is commonly assumed that the fins weigh no more than five percent of the total shark weight (page 2), so the number of sharks fished reduced to as little as 1 / 400th of the 1999 values with the enactment of the shark finning ban.

> We all oppose shark fining, but who can provide ANY evidence to link the crime of shark fining and our current supply in California ?

Shark fins bought in San Francisco were brought to the California Academy of Sciences to have their DNA sequenced. Of the 19 samples that were successfully sequenced were 14 species including sharks that inhabit California waters. Over half are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN and one was a species threatened with endangerment. The latter was the prepared noodle and completely unrecognizable. Others were from species that live in the Indian and Atlantic oceans as well as the Pacific Ocean. This is an international trade affecting sharks worldwide. DNA analysis is a time intensive, costly and laborious process and cannot be used on a large scale to screen sharks.

> Some blame Senator Ted Lieu for playing the race card, but who can explain why AB376 only ban shark fin, not ban the shark fishing and use other 95% of shark.

1. Illegal vs. legal shark fishing

The intention of the shark fin bill is to target illegal shark fishing. Shark-fins are so much more valuable than any other part of the shark that it causes the large-scale indiscriminate illegal killing of sharks even if endangered and certainly not within quota.

2. Shark fin is the most valuable part of the shark and contributes most to shark endangerment

The vast majority sharks are targeted for their fins and the rest of the shark is discarded. Shark products, e.g. shark meat, have very low demand [http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/the-great-shark-slaughter/Content?oid=2519696]:

'"Fins are by far the most valuable part of the shark. Low prices or non-existent markets for shark meat discourage further retention." Indeed, shark meat exported from the United States goes for only $1 a pound — fifty times less than shark fin. ... In fact, Costco — contrary to Yee's claim — stopped carrying shark meat years ago because of lack of demand, according to the chain's US seafood buyer. ... Fins, by contrast, are highly valuable, and because they can be air-dried on the ship's rigging and stored compactly, they're essentially free money.'

3. Because of (2), ending the demand for shark fin will address the problem most efficiently.

Sharks are in trouble and banning all shark fishing may not be a bad idea. However, that's a much larger endeavor. As sharks are most often killed for their fins, ending that demand will save many more sharks than almost any other effort. This is something that can be done NOW.

As an analogy, consider recycling efforts. Does it make sense to hold back a entire recycling program until you have have perfected a wastestream management in place for every single item? No. Start where you can, and with an effort that you think will make a difference. In fact, whether it's with newspaper, glass, cans, or PET (1) containers, all municipalities involved in recycling start somewhere, and then later add on.

Excellent Q&A's on the shark fin bill:
To ban or not to ban
Four facts about AB 376

Sample letters: COARE, Sea Stewards

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill


Photo: 1000 Hong Kong kids at Cyberport HK 9 July for the "I am the future, I won't eat shark fins" pledge event

California shark fin bill (AB376) passes CA Senate Natural Resource Committee 7-0. Thanks to Senators Pavley, Kehoe, LaMalfa, Evans, Simitian, Wolk, and Padilla. Senators Fuller and Canella abstained. The vote was contingent on the commitment of the author to work out amendments that satisfy Senator Lieu. The committee reserved the right to bring the bill back for a special hearing. (Via David McGuire)

Audio of hearing will be available in a few days at: http://sntr.senate.ca.gov/hearings

http://justice-equality.org (via "No on AB 376" facebook page):
"No on AB376 (shark's fin)
We applaud the great efforts of Senator Ted Lieu, Senator Leland Yee, Carl Chan, and Pius Lee in opposing to AB376 (shark’s fin) which is a discriminatory and illogical bill imposing on Chinese Americans while not really contributing to environmental protection. ..."

AB 376 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

Christine Kehoe (Chair) (916) 651-4039 senator.kehoe@senate.ca.gov
Mimi Walters (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4033 senator.walters@senate.ca.gov
Elaine Alquist (916) 651-4013 senator.alquist@senate.ca.gov
Bill Emmerson (916) 651-4037 senator.emmerson@senate.ca.gov
Ted W. Lieu (916) 651-4028 senator.lieu@senate.ca.gov
Fran Pavley (916) 651-4023 senator.pavley@senate.ca.gov
Curren Price (916) 651-4026 senator.price@senate.ca.gov
Sharon Runner (916) 651-4017 senator.runner@senate.ca.gov
Darrell Steinberg (916) 651-4006 senator.steinberg@senate.ca.gov

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill

    
      
    
Photos: Shark Fin Photo Mob

The Senate Natural Resources committee heard testimony June 14, and will cast their votes at the next hearing, June 28. The Committee heard testimony from both sides for over an hour. Many committee members expressed support for the goals of AB 376. Others asked that during the next two weeks supporters and opposition submit additional information. Listen to the session: mp3 on the ChineseForAB376 facebook page

Contact the Senators below to vote YES on AB 376 on June 28.

Alex Padilla (D-Van Nuys): 916/651-4020, senator.padilla@senate.ca.gov
Doug LaMalfa (R-Rocklin): 916/651-4004, senator.lamalfa@senate.ca.gov
Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield): 916/651-4018, senator.fuller@senate.ca.gov
Anthony Cannella (R-Modesto): 916/651-4012, senator.cannella@senate.ca.gov
Lois Wolk (D-Vacaville): 916/651-4005, senator.wolk@senate.ca.gov

Additionally, please contact Senators Pavley, Evans, Kehoe, and Simitian and THANK them for their support for AB 376.

Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica, Chair): 916/651-4023, senator.pavley@senate.ca.gov
Noreen Evans (D-Napa): 916/651-4002, senator.evans@senate.ca.gov
Chrstine Kehoe (D-San Diego): 916/651-4039, senator.kehoe@senate.ca.gov
Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto): 916/651-4011, senator.simitian@senate.ca.gov

Here is a sample letter.

Photos: From Shark Fin Photo Mob. Current photos – contribute a photo to support AB 376.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Facts about AB 376


1. The Shark Fin Trade Decimates Sharks

The shark fin trade is like the now-illegal trades in ivory, rhino horns, and bear paws, where the demand for a single high-value animal part drives the unsustainable slaughter and waste of the whole animal.

As many as 73 million sharks are killed each year to supply fins for the international shark fin trade.[1] The value of shark fin far exceeds other shark parts (20 to 250 times the value of meat by weight), providing an overwhelming economic driver to hunt as many sharks as possible for their fins.[2]

Nearly one third of shark species are threatened with extinction and multiple recent, peer-reviewed scientific reports show that populations of sharks worldwide are declining dramatically.[3]

2. California Contributes to the Problem

California imports and re-exports shark fins from all over the world, including Asia.[4] Approximately 85% of all U.S. dried shark fin imports come through California.[5] Los Angeles and San Francisco are recognized points of entry for the shark fin trade.[6]

The U.S. accounts for 70% of all shark fin imports outside of Asia.[7] The United States ranks 7th out of 85 countries that are origins of shark fin exports to Hong Kong.[8] By joining Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon in ending its contribution to the trade in shark fins, California can help shut down the international shark fin trade.

3. Only a Trade Ban Can End California’s Contribution & Help Save Sharks

Some AB 376 opponents suggest that California should allow the shark fin trade to continue by “just killing sharks in our own waters to meet the fin demand here.” The authors, sponsors, supporters, and ocean science and policy experts have thoroughly explored this approach and disagree. Here’s why:

The opposition’s scheme…

Is illegal: Such a scheme likely violates the U.S. Constitution and international trade rules.[9] These legal barriers have led other U.S. states that also want to stop the unchecked slaughter of sharks for their fins to adopt the same trade ban as embodied in AB 376. (Opposition cannot demonstrate how its scheme could exist without violating federal and international law.)

Does not address the problem: Domestic, trade-only schemes for high-value exotic and luxury animal items like shark fin (bear paw, elephant ivory, etc.) fail to protect species; the trade – which is the major problem – is still allowed to continue, the animal continues to be slaughtered for its high-value item, inhumane practices continue to be incentivized, and laundering and illegal imports are pervasive.[10] (Opposition cannot demonstrate that its scheme would end California’s contribution to the slaughter of sharks for their high-value fins.)

Harms California’s shark populations: Domestic, trade-only schemes will increase domestic killing to compensate for banned out-of-state and imported product. Currently, sharks in California waters are fished at relatively low rates in just two limited fisheries (mako and thresher sharks).[11] Opposition’s scheme would immediately and strongly incentivize the slaughter of sharks in our waters for their fins – undermining our shark conservation efforts. (Opposition cannot demonstrate how its scheme could be structured to maintain the status quo for California shark fisheries.)

Is unworkable and unenforceable: There is no way to track the chain of custody of individual shark fins without exorbitant cost and without inviting laundering and fraud. It is not possible to tag or barcode and provide DNA testing for each and every fin to ensure that it is accurately marked with necessary information from slaughter to soup. A simple receipt or form from a fin vendor is no real option. That’s because these type of documents do not accurately track chain of custody (especially for high-priced luxury items like shark fin or elephant ivory) and they are subject to massive fraud. Such schemes have been tried and failed disastrously to protect species. (Opposition cannot offer a chain of custody program that would work to accurately track shark fins. Opposition also cannot show how such a program would be enforced and how its scheme would deal with imported, illegally tagged fins, and illegal shark fin contamination in the domestic market.)

Is cost prohibitive: AB 376 is enforced at no new cost to state or local enforcement bodies. AB 376 places no additional burdens on local governments, state entities, California fishermen, or our state’s Fish and Game wardens. (Opposition cannot show how it would pay for its proposal, which does not address the problem, and how its proposal would place no costs or burdens on the state, local governments, fishermen, or wardens even if it could work.)

AB 376 is very similar to other shark fin trade bans enacted or poised to be enacted in other U.S. states and countries around the world. The legislation is carefully crafted to end California’s role in the shark fin trade.

4. AB 376 is Not a Cultural Attack

Consuming shark fin is a practice for those who can afford it, but it is not a defining aspect of Chinese culture. In addition, practices do, in fact, change over time. Consider the now-banned practice of binding women’s feet, which was considered by some to be an important element of cultural beauty but which has been outlawed as a result of its cruelty. Moreover, other highly-prized and sustainable seafood products exist, such as farmed abalone, which can be substituted for shark fin to celebrate special occasions. Finally, and most importantly, polling shows that 70% of California Chinese American voters support AB 376. The poll also shows that 38% of California Chinese Americans have never eaten shark fin soup.[12] Also, a 2011 survey in Hong Kong shows that attitudes are shifting in Asia as well. In China, there is increasing awareness of declining shark populations and a growing movement to stop the consumption of shark fin.[13]

References
1 Clarke, et.al. Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets. Ecology Letters, (2006) 9. 1115-1126.
2 Stefania Vannuccini, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). FAO FISHERIES TECHNICAL PAPER 389. Rome, 1999. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/x3690e/x3690e1t.htm (Table 3)
3 Camhi, M.D., Valenti, S.V., Fordham, S.V., Fowler, S.L. and Gibson, C. 2009. The Conservation Status of Pelagic Sharks and Rays: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Pelagic Shark Red List Workshop. IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group. Newbury, UK. x + 78p. http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/ssg_pelagic_report_final.pdf; See also for examples: Chapple, et al. 2011 (Finding there are just 219 white sharks left off the coast of Central California.); Baum, Meyers, et al. 2003 (Finding all northwest Atlantic shark populations have declined by at least 50%.); Baum, Meyers, et al. 2004 (Finding whitetip and silky sharks in the Gulf of Mexico have declined by 99% and 90%, respectively.)
4 FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics and Information Service. 2010. Fisheries commodities production and trade 1976-2008. FISHSTAT Plus - Universal software for fishery statistical time series [online or CD-ROM]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstat/en
5 National Marine Fisheries Service: 2008-2010 Import Data: http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/trade/cumulative_data/TradeDataDistrict.html
6 2010 NOAA Report to Congress http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/ReportsToCongress/SharkFinningReport10.pdf
7 [Average value for 2000-2008] FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics and Information Service. 2010. Fisheries commodities production and trade 1976-2008. FISHSTAT Plus - Universal software for fishery statistical time series [online or CD-ROM]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstat/en
8 “The International Trade of Shark Fins.” Oceana. March 2010. http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/OCEANA_international_trade_shark_fins_english.pdf (Table 1: “Origins of Shark Fin Exports to Hong Kong.” Source: 2008 Hong Kong Census Trade Statistics).
9 See Art. I, Sec. 8, U.S. Constitution, see also, e.g. United Haulers Ass’n v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Mgmt. Auth. 550 U.S. 330 (2007); see General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT), Article XX, World Trade Organization.
10 See for example failure of domestic ivory trade programs (Environmental News Service, June 4, 2007: “an investigative report into Japan's domestic ivory trade controls released last week by the International Fund for Animal Welfare details loopholes in the Japanese system that allow illegal ivory from elephants poached in the wild to be laundered in astronomical sums into the legal domestic ivory market.")
11 California Department of Fish and Game 2009 commercial catch data: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/fishing.asp#Commercial (indicating 62.24 mt of thresher shark and 20.15 metric tons of short fin mako landed in 2009; below Pacific Fisheries Management Council Highly Migratory Species FMPharvest guidelines of 340 mt for common thresher and 150 mt for mako)
12 Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, 2011 Survey Results on Proposed Shark Finning Legislation
13 “Attitudes Shifting on Shark Fin Soup.” Bettina Wassener. April 24, 2011. The New York Times.; “Survey on Shark Consumption Habits and Attitudes in Hong Kong.” Bloom &University of Hong Kong Social Sciences Resarch Center. Results Press Conference, April 12 2011. http://bloomassociation.org/bloom/media/SurveysharkconsumptionhabitsinHong%20Kong.pdf

Monday, May 23, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill



AB 376 passed out of the California Assembly floor 65-8. Assemblymembers Fiona Ma, Mike Eng, Jim Nielsen were among the ones who spoke eloquently in opposition. Listen to their speeches (mp3 also on this facebook page).

VOTING "NO": Fiona Ma (San Francisco), Tim Donnelly, Mike Eng, Felipe Fuentes, Curt Hagman, Diane Harkey, Allan Mansoor, Jim Nielsen.

ABSTAINING: Charles Calderon, Connie Conway, Paul Cook, Jeff Gorell (absent?), Shannon Grove, Isadore Hall, Kristin Olsen.

California shark fin bill AB 376 will now go to the Senate side. It will first go to the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee, chaired by Senator Fran Pavley. Members are Doug LaMalfa, Noreen Evans, Christine Kehoe, Alex Padilla, Joe Simitian, Lois Wolk, Anthony Cannella and Jean Fuller.

Email pattern for all: senator.pavley@senate.ca.gov

Here is a sample letter.

News:
Assembly approves shark fin ban San Francisco Chronicle 2011-5-23
Assembly votes to prohibit sale of shark fins Associated Press 2011-5-23
鱼翅之争_美国频道 新浪网 2011-5-23
For the latest news, google-news/google 'shark fin' and '鱼翅'.

Facebook page of Chinese for AB 376
Facebook page of opponents of AB 376 – be careful and don't 'Like' unless you mean to

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Support needed: California shark fin bill

   
What's New:
California shark fin bill AB 376 will now go to the full Assembly floor (80 members) for voting. Now is the time to contact your assemblymember and urge her/him to support AB 376 (more information below).

AB 376: bill analysis for Assembly floor, legislative process

致余胤良州議員:請不要把種族問題扯進來!To Senator Yee: The proposed ban on shark fin soup has nothing to do with race 魚翅婚宴 人情七折
李銳華 啟文 雜思: 魚翅、中華文化、與立法規管
女高中生校门口挺牌呼吁拯救鲨鱼

My wedding saves sharks

Video: Diver in Hong Kong is not at all happy she can't see any sharks as they've all been finned. (If there are no more sharks in the ocean, I'd be traumatized too.)


世界新聞網-北美華文新聞、華商資訊 - 加州提案禁止出售和擁有魚翅,你的看法為
[There is a proposed ban on the sale and possession of shark fin in CA. What is your opinion on this?
A. Shark fin (trade) hurts our environment. It should be banned.
B. This is an attack on a culture. It is an equivalent of the "Chinese Exclusion Act" in the catering industry.
C. I don't eat shark fin soup, and I have no opinion on this.
]



News about shark fin ban (use google translate):
AB 376 Vote Soon; Voters Please Contact these Assemblymembers Sea Stewards
Herrera Jumps on Shark Fin Bandwagon The Bay Citizen 2011-5-23
魚翅禁令建議延後1年生效
世界新聞網 2011-5-21
New shark fin ban bill allows more time to comply Associated Press 2011-5-20
香港政府公开公务吃喝账不点鱼翅剩菜需打包 新浪网 2011-5-20
Shark fin soup lovers could get one-year reprieve San Francisco Chronicle (Politics blog) 2011-5-19
反禁鱼翅案者酝酿行动 称绝不牺牲华裔饮食文化 美国侨报 2011-5-19
鱼翅其实没那么营养 80%左右成分是蛋白质 新华网云南频道 2011-5-18
Focus Taiwan News Channel 2011-5-19
6月16起宣導一系列拒吃活動/喜宴不吃魚翅 中原學生搶救鯊魚 自由時報 2011-5-19
YouTube: Say NO to shark fin Freezemob 2 Hong Kong 2011-5-18
网民拯救鲨鱼 抵制吃鱼翅倡议“七折人情” 中国新闻网 2011-5-18
大学生携手保护动物 拒吃鱼翅 中央社实时新闻 2011-5-18
禁鱼翅保护鲨鱼安省小城开先例!有华人就有鱼 加拿大家园网 2011-5-17
From Costa Rica to Nicaragua: Foreign fleet now lands shark fins in Nicaragua PRETOMA 2011-5-17
再论禁止鱼翅案:提案系伪命题 侨报网 2011-5-17
一项调查显示:鱼翅被水银污染的程度高达70% ningceiqateke388的日志 2011-05-17
Lali King - Shark Fin OMNI BC Cantonese 2011-5-16
爭取開加國先河 安省一市擬立例禁銷禁食魚翅 加拿大星島日報 2011-5-14
Big Deal. I Just Said It. I Didn’t Say It Was True. New York Times 2011-5-14. It's true that it would be difficult to enforce the hard-to-sell shark meat not being discarded and used as fertilizer.
Sabah hotels stop selling shark fin soup Malaysia Star 2011-5-14
Save-shark campaign cooks on persuasion Times Colonist 2011-5-14
Shark Fin and "Waste Not" – True Chinese "Tradition" Matthew Felix Sun 2011-5-13
Hotel says no to shark’s fin mySarawak 2011-5-13
加州鱼翅之争 中外对话 2011-5-12
Shark fight in California China Dialogue 2011-5-12 (video)
Historic Washington Legislation Protects Sharks PR.com (press release) 2011-5-12
Brantford pushes for Canada's first shark fin ban Toronto Star 2011-5-12
To ban or not to ban, that is the question... COARE 2011-5-11
Basketball star Yao speaks out against shark finning MKALWNews 2011-5-11
The Brouhaha Over Shark Fins AsianWeek 2011-5-10
California Considers Shark Fin Soup Ban AssociatedPress 2011-5-10
反對禁魚翅法案聯盟動起來 世界日報 2011-5-9
禁不禁? 華裔官員半對半 — 支持 世界黃頁網 2011-5-9
多吃鱼翅可致男性不育 新闻中心 2011-5-9
Will the San Jose Sharks Help Save Real Sharks? Change.org (blog) 2011-5-9
73 Million Sharks Need Your Help Huffington Green 2011-5-9
Food operators rebuff Sabah’s proposed shark hunting ban Malaysia Star 2011-5-9
Malaysian state plans to ban shark hunting to boost tourism, conserve species Associated Press 2011-5-8
Flashmob Say No to Shark Fin Soup Event: Sun 2011-5-15, Citic Tower, Outside on the sidewalk, 1 Tin Mei Avenue, Admiralty, Hong Kong
美国加州禁鱼翅法案争论激烈 华人热议 大紀元 2011-5-7
余胤良堅決反對要找方文忠談 新浪網 2011-5-7 (Leland Yee 余胤良 Yú Yìnliáng)
Yee tries to clarify shark-fin position San Francisco Chronicle (blog) 2011-5-7
香港藝人郭秀雲 在港推動不吃魚翅 世界新聞網 2011-5-7
蒙特瑞水族館:7成民眾支持禁魚翅 世界新聞網 2011-5-6
KTSF news clip about press conference KTSF 2011-5-6
SF: Poll Shows Support For Banning Shark Fin KTUV 2011-5-6
Proposed shark fin ban makes waves in San Fran. Associated Press 2011-5-6
Poll: California's Chinese Americans Overwhelmingly Support Ban On Shark Fin Trade Monterey Bay Aqarium 2011-5-6
姚明:保護鯊魚不喝魚翅湯 中央社 2011-5-6
環保組織禁魚翅 請到姚明助陣 世界日報 2011-5-6
沙州將禁獵售鯊魚魚翅 星洲互動 2011-5-6
邱信福、丁右立支持禁魚翅 世界日報 2011-5-4 (David Chiu 邱信福 Qiū Xìnfú; Ed Lee 李孟賢 Lǐ Mèngxián)
飲食新起點﹕環保「魚翅」 明報專訊 2011-5-4
從善如流 兩岸美食交流 魚翅不上桌 環境資訊中心 2011-5-4
龍景軒 世界日報 2011-5-3. Lung King Heen (龍景軒) is the only Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong that has been awarded the maximum three Michelin stars by the 2008 Hong Kong and Macau edition of the Michelin Guide.
The San Francisco Mayoral Race and the Shark Fin Soup Divide Change.org (blog) 2011-5-2
Priced Off the Menu? Palau’s Sharks Are Worth $1.9 Million Each, a Study Says New York Times 2011-5-2
致全球华人的地球日公开信:拯救黑熊和鲨鱼 凤凰网 2011-5-1
Chinese politicians must navigate shark fin issue San Francisco Chronicle 2011-5-1
支持AB376者:不認為有歧視 星島日報 2011-4-30
伍國慶指禁魚翅法案有漏洞 新浪網 2011-4-30 (Mike Eng 伍國慶 Wǔ Guóqìng)
Also see: 馬世雲 反對禁魚翅法案 世界新聞網 2011-3-7 (Fiona Ma 馬世雲 Mǎ Shìyún). Please contact Asm. Fiona Ma and urge her to vote YES on AB 376 (916/319-2012, fiona.ma@asm.ca.gov).
操往方文忠辦公室找不著人 反對禁魚翅民眾示威撲空 星島日報 2011-4-30
Oregon House passes bill banning shark fin soup Seattle Times 2011-4-29
關麗珍:禁魚翅並非歧視華裔 世界新聞網 2011-4-29 (Oakland mayor Jean Quan 關麗珍 Guān Lìzhēn)
Taiwan drops shark's fin soup from Beijing banquet Monsters and Critics 2011-4-29
Community members to hold rally against shark fin bill KTSF Channel 26 News 2011-4-29
觀光局:北京台菜宴不用魚翅 中央社 2011-4-28
反對禁魚翅 周五大示威 新浪網 2011-4-28
全球华人向鱼翅说“不” 保护鲨鱼需要立法 中新网 2011-4-27
李孟賢直認吃魚翅昂然反對施禁 新浪網 2011-4-27 (Ed Lee 李孟賢 Lǐ Mèngxián)
Mayor Lee Resists Stopping Shark Torture NBC Bay Area 2011-4-27
Mayor Ed Lee opposed to shark fin soup ban San Francisco Chronicle 2011-4-26
伍國慶反對禁魚翅 世界日報 2011-4-25 (Mike Eng 伍國慶 Wǔ Guóqìng, Fiona Ma 馬世雲 Mǎ Shìyún). Please contact Asm. Fiona Ma and Asm. Mike Eng and urge them to vote YES on AB 376.
方文忠:禁魚翅絕非歧視華人 世界新聞網 2011-4-25
七代志新浪环保等机构倡议航空公司勿登鱼翅广告 新浪网 2011-4-25
Attitudes Shifting on Shark Fin Soup New York Times 2011-4-25 (survey)
美各州重環保 禁魚翅成風潮 中央社 2011-4-22
Oregon considers banning shark fin soup The Seattle Times 2011-4-22. "The House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee this week unanimously endorsed House Bill 2838 and sent it to the floor with a recommendation for passage."
全球華人聯合發起地球日活動籲拒吃魚翅和熊膽 大陸頻道 新浪網 2011-4-21
業者:禁魚翅 就是歧視華人 世界日報 2011-4-21
Shark Champion Awards recognise efforts of Chinese campaigners 2011-4-18. Many thanks to Mr Ding Li Guo 丁立國, Mr Wan Jie 萬捷, and Mr Zhang Xing Sheng 張醒生!
王石:全球變局下更要倡導綠色公司 中國經濟網 www.ce.cn 2011-4-18
Anti-Shark Finning Exhibition Opens in Support of AB 376: "No Fins, No Future" PR Newswire 2011-4-18
Support Bans on the Shark Fin Trade Huffington Post 2011-4-15
Letter to the editor: Say no to shark fin soup Malaysia Star 2011-4-15
78%港人撐婚宴没魚翅 香港商報訊 八成人接受婚宴沒魚翅 明報 2011-4-13 (article also published in 中央日報 Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Netherlands, Poland)
Shark fin no longer dish of the day at Hong Kong wedding banquets Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2011-4-13. Here is the survey.
州众议院未对法案进行讨论及表决三百市民州府反对禁鱼翅 全球新闻 2011-4-13
周一組團用大巴士上州府抗議華埠社區發動魚翅捍衛戰 香港新浪網 2011-4-9
舊金山僑社稱禁魚翅案不足挂齒 民生大計更需關注 新華網 2011-4-9
稍後提交加州眾議院表決禁魚翅法案州眾院委會通過 香港新浪網 2011-4-8
禁魚翅案 眾議會撥款委員會通過 世界日報 2011-4-7
稍后提交加州众议院表决禁鱼翅法案州众院委会通过 加拿大都市网 2011-4-7
两天5000人签名抗议歧视性立法 加拿大都市网 2011-4-7
Shark cyber conservation in China The Nature Conservancy 2011-4-6
加州禁鱼翅提案获阶段进展 中餐业者称应全球推广 中国新闻网 2011-4-6
Alhambra Chinese restaurants fight shark fin ban Alhambra Source 2011-4-4
洛杉矶华人支持禁止销售鱼翅提案 做环保先锋 新华网 2011-4-4
反禁魚翅 華人團體施壓州議員 世界日報 2011-4-2

保护鲨鱼,拒吃鱼翅 No Shark-Fin Buying, No Shark Killing 中国企业家俱乐部 China Entrepreneur Club, 阿拉善SEE生态协 Alxa SEE Ecological Association, 中城联盟 Midtown Alliance , 野生救援 WildAid, 新浪网 Sina


04.06.2011
California shark fin bill AB 376 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee with 10 votes (17-member committee). Here is the bill analysis.
AYES: Blumenfield, Bradford, Charles Calderon, Campos, Davis, Gatto, Hill, Lara, Mitchell, Solorio
NOES: Nielsen
ABSENT, ABSTAINING, OR NOT VOTING: Fuentes, Harkey, Donnelly, Hall, Norby, Wagner




Background: A bill has been introduced (by assemblymembers Paul Fong and Jared Huffman) to ban the shark fin trade and shark finning in California, a process where the fins and tails are cut from sharks, then the sharks, often still alive, are thrown back into the ocean.

Please support this bill by sending an email to your assemblymember and senator. Your emails will impact whether this bill will pass. Passing the bill in California (it passed in Hawaii, and the Washington Senate 47-0 House 95-1) will create a ripple effect to ban shark fin in other states and in other countries.

It's an assembly bill (AB 376), and we don't get to vote on it individually, instead our assemblymember and senator will vote on it on our behalf. Email your assemblymember and senator (and the Assembly Committee) to let them know your position on the shark fin ban.

A sample email and the email addresses are on this page sharksavers.org. If you live in California or San Francisco where the bill's opponent (California senator Leland Yee) is running for mayor, do include your location.

San Francisco's assemblymember is Fiona Ma (fiona.ma@asm.ca.gov). She's neutral on the shark fin ban. San Francisco's senator is Leland Yee (opposes ban).


Image: With no natural predators, lionfish populations have exploded throughout the waters of the Caribbean and U.S. Southeast since their accidental introduction by aquarium hobbyists a decade ago. A mature female lionfish produces some two million eggs every year, and those eggs and larvae are carried far and wide by currents—fuelling an ongoing invasion. Divers are trying to train sharks to eat them.

Reasons to ban shark fin

Endangered
1/3 of the species of open-ocean sharks are at risk of extinction just from the last 20-30 years of eating shark fin soup, a practice which kills 26-73 million sharks a year. At this rate, these sharks, which have been around for hundreds of millions of years, could become extinct in our lifetime.

These are the bigger sharks, the top predators of the ocean ecosystem, and thus considered by scientists to be 'keystone' species, meaning that removing them causes the whole structure to collapse. For this reason, the prospect of a food chain minus its apex predators may mean the end of the line for many more species, and the collapse of important fish and shellfish fisheries.

Wasteful
Only the fins are eaten while the rest of the shark is discarded, for the vast majority of the 73 million sharks (analogous to ivory).

Cruel
Due to shark-finning being done illegally in many countries (because they fetch huge profits), numerous sharks have their fins cut off while alive, thrown back into the ocean where they take many days to die.

Not beneficial nutritionally
Sharks, being top predators, have a high level of mercury which is a neurotoxin, which can lead to problems with the brain, central nervous system, kidney, liver, and sterility in men.

Alternative suggestions to banning shark fin, such as eating only sharks which are used whole, caught sustainably, are not enforceable. Similar to the ivory trade, the demand has to be cut, at least for now until the rate of depletion of sharks is slowed down.

Shark fin is not a cultural delicacy that has been singled out to be banned – both production and sale of foie gras (force-feeding) has already been banned in California.

Thank you for helping to prevent sharks from becoming endangered/extinct.

News articles:
www.kqed.org/quest/blog/2011/02/23/shark-fin-trade-puts-sharks-at-risk/
www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the-great-shark-slaughter/...
www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201102160900 Excellent discussion with Adam Keigwin (representing Senator Yee), John McCosker (California Academy of Sciences), Paul Fong (Assemblymember), and Peter Knights (WildAid), hosted by Michael Krasny.
"End of the Line: Global Threats to Sharks": pdf at WildAid and Oceana. Pew report: "Sharks: The State of the Science"




02.23.2011
Here's Senator Yee's response, and a sample follow-up email

“I wanted to write to you personally to make sure you understood my full position on the recent proposal to ban shark fin soup in California.

I am extremely concerned about the plight of sharks and the ecological impact to the oceans caused by the depletion of certain species. I am a strong supporter of the 2000 federal law, recently strengthened by President Obama, against shark “finning.” It’s a horrendous and cruel practice.

The seriousness with which I take environmental issues is evidenced by the 100% rating I recently received from Clean Water Action, the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club – one of only two Senators in California to receive this distinction.

That’s why, while I oppose a complete ban on shark fin soup, I strongly support efforts to protect endangered sharks and stop the practice of shark finning.

I believe we can both protect sharks and preserve the 1,800-year cultural heritage of shark fin soup through the following actions:

* A complete ban on any importation of shark fin to California that does not comply with the federal law against shark “finning” and a ban on the use of shark fins from endangered species of sharks;

* Adoption by California of the federal prohibition against shark “finning;”

* Imposition of strict penalties for breaking these laws;

* Use of such resources collected through penalties for regulation and education about sharks and ocean ecology.

While I do feel that we should find a way to protect a cultural staple, I made a mistake by indiscriminately labeling those who support the ban as “culturally insensitive.” That is neither accurate nor constructive, and I deeply regret offending those who were hurt by my comments.

Those who have labeled my position as one of disregard for the environment and the plight of sharks are making a similar mistake.

My commitment is to seek common ground and pass meaningful legislation that protects endangered species and our oceans.”


Dear Senator Yee,

I'm a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco and I hope you will represent me to support AB 376 to ban shark fin in California.

Thank you for your response sent today on your behalf by Dan Lieberman. Unfortunately, the proposals primarily amount to adopting laws in California that are redundant with existing federal laws. In a perfect world, the federal ban would already be sufficient.

It is important that the ban on shark finning be enforceable, and effective in preventing shark populations from further declining. This has parallels to the ivory trade and our experience with ivory demonstrates that the only way we can enforce it is to cut the demand.

If we Chinese all over the world keep consuming shark fin soup, sharks, which have been around for hundreds of millions of years, will be decimated in our lifetime, with adverse effects on our environment, such as collapsing our scallop fisheries, threatening crab (and abalone!) populations, and disrupting our ocean ecosystem.

If I had thought that Chinese had been treated unfairly in this bill, I would have spoken out vocally about it. I don't think that is the case here. We have to see the bigger picture.

There is no reason to eat any dish, of any culture, that leads to the endangerment of a species. Because we Chinese have caused the depletion of sharks in the ocean, we have an added responsibility to support this ban.

I respectfully request that you reconsider your position in light of the strong interest in this issue demonstrated by your constituents.

Warm regards,
Yvonne Chu
San Francisco, CA



seastewards.org/san-francisco-shark-fin-consumption-contributes-to-the-decrease-of-world-sharks:

"With the Hamilton Lab at the California Academy Sciences Sea Stewards sequenced the DNA of shark fins bought in San Francisco.

Of 19 samples that were successfully sequenced discovered 14 species including sharks that inhabit California waters. Over half are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN and one was a species threatened with endangerment.

The latter was the prepared noodle and completely unrecognizable. Others were from species that live in the Indian and Atlantic oceans as well as the Pacific Ocean. This is an international trade affecting sharks worldwide. As Dr. McCosker said, sharks cannot be farmed due to their biology. There is no sustainable source of shark fins from any fishery to support the demand.

To screen sharks at the ports is unviable. DNA analysis is a time intensive, costly and laborious process and cannot be (as one caller suggested) used on a large scale to screen sharks.

This is about sustainability. There are sustainable alternatives to shark fin soup. [crab seafood soup]

We are joined by Asian Americans and Asian American groups like the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance in supporting sharks and banning the sale of shark fins."

Also see:
www.scienceblogs.com/... illegal shark fishing in Galapagos
www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201102160900 excellent KQED discussion about enforceability issue
www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the-great-shark-slaughter/...
bushwarriors.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/... half ton of illegal hammerhead shark fins seized en route to NY
www.kqed.org/quest/blog/2011/02/23/shark-fin-trade-puts-sharks-at-risk
monkeyfacenews.typepad.com/my-blog/2011/02/shark-fin-soup.html
www.sfgate.com/... fewer great white sharks than scientists expected
www.manandshark.com a video by Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford which explores shark-finning in developing nations



Campaigns against eating shark fin soup are being waged in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. 禁售魚翅,並不是對中華文化的攻擊。其實,如下所列,很多華人都是反對食用魚翅的

02.26.2011
Jennifer Lee, founder of Project: FIN in Singapore sent this letter to Senator Yee and Assemblymember Paul Fong:

Dear Senator Yee,

As a Chinese advocate for marine conservation, I disagree with your statement that the Californian shark fin ban opposes our Chinese tradition. Shark fin started off an emperor's dish, inaccessible to commoners. The dish was only popularized in the last 30+ years, and we have already caused drastic declines in shark populations around the world.

Calling the dish a part of our Chinese culture provides convenience for the tongue, but this statement is accurate only if you believe we are of royal blood.

Other traditions such as feet binding and arranged marriages that have fallen with time because these no longer have a place on this day. While we take pride in our Chinese tradition, we need to bear in mind that the importance of cultural practices should not supersede the importance of maintaining sustainability.

As a fellow Chinese, may I urge you to lead with greater responsibilities towards our environment.

Jennifer Lee
Founder, Project: FIN (Singapore)
On behalf of 990 members.

03.09.2011
Ding Liguo, deputy to the National People's Congress in China, proposed that China's top legislature should ban the trade of shark fin. Ding said, "Only legislation can stop shark fin trading and reduce the killings of sharks" [2011-3-9, Xinhua, Agence France-Presse]

Some links related to AB 376 in Asia
http://sharksavers.org/en/blog... (Jaki Teo in Singapore writes about AB 376)
(translated) http://www.china-daily.org/Chi...
(in Chinese) http://www.singtaousa.com/0303... (open letter published in sina.com in China, and singtaousa.com)
Other parts of Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Nepal
Others: Canada, UK/Independent, UK/Telegraph, Australia, France, Netherlands, VOANews, NYTimes
Claudia Li's support letter for AB 376 (pdf)

About me (yvonne): I'm a Chinese immigrant who grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong. My parents, who are still in Hong Kong, run a business, which means I grew up eating a lot of shark fin soup. Both my parents went to university in China, where they met.



Photo: Six-graders met with Assemblymember Don Wagner (pictured) and other local elected representatives to encourage them to support AB 376. They also wrote instructional curriculum about shark ecology, created a website ilovesharks, and are selling T-shirts to raise money for shark preservation. They hope to travel to Sacramento next to encourage state legislators to pass AB 376.

California shark fin bill AB 376 is progressing
03.02.2011
From sharksavers.org:
"Senator Leland Yee ... is still leading the opposition and has suggested ways to change the bill that would significantly weaken it. ... You can help by writing ... to show your support for the bill. Everyone can write, but it is especially important for the legislators to receive calls, emails, or letters from: Asians residing anywhere in the world, residents of the three districts that these legislators represent, and other Californians [my emphasis]."

03.17.2011
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF) has signed on as co-author. Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski is undecided. Support letters are needed especially to the Republican members.

03.18.2011
[mountainview.patch.com]: Senator Yee's position is unchanged.


03.22.2011
AB 376 passed out of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee
13-0. Thank you everyone! You can listen to the hearing (mp3 also on this facebook page). Among the people who spoke in support of AB 376 are Assemblymember Paul Fong (AB 376's principal co-author), APAOHA Co-Chair Judy Ki, Monterey Bay Aquarium Vice President Michael Sutton, and WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights. Organizations in support of AB 376 are listed in the bill analysis. Thank you to all members of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, especially Assemblymember Paul Fong.

Next the bill will go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (four of whom have already voted for the bill in AWPW: Blumenfield, Campos, Gatto & Lara). The hearing is scheduled for Apr 6. If it passes, it will go to the Assembly floor (80 members). If successful there, it will then go to the Senate side.

Letters of support are needed to the chair Felipe Fuentes (assemblymember.fuentes@assembly.ca.gov) and members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and to your assemblymember and senator.