Update on bills to ban shark fins

Posted on March 1, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers

From one side of the Pacific to another, there are bills to ban the trade in shark fins. Many of these bills are inspired by the ground-breaking Hawaii law, but they all have their local flavors and have met with different kinds of resistance and amendments.

Guam Bill 44-31 to ban the trade in shark fins and ray parts passes unanimously:

Following the passing of the shark fin ban in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on January 26th, Guam is making progress on its own bill. On February 24th, the legislature of Guam, another US territory in the Pacific, voted unanimously to also ban the shark fin trade as well as the trade in ray parts.   Vice Speaker BJ Cruz and Natural Resources Committee Chair Rory Respicio introduced the  No. 44-31 in mid January, and it moved quickly through the legislative process despite heated controversy over the bill.  Because of the undisputed vote, it is expected that Guam's Governor Eddie Baza Calvo will sign the bill into law shortly.
 

California shark fin ban legislation, Assembly Bill 376:

A shark fin ban bill - AB 376 Download California AB 376

was introduced in California on February 14th by Assemblymember Paul Fong and co-sponsored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman. The bill has now been referred to its first policy committee, the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee, which is chaired by co-sponsor Huffman. The public hearing is scheduled for March 22nd. We will have specific information on that hearing in the next few days.

What can you do to support the California bill? 

Senator Leland Yee from San Francisco has come out in opposition to the bill calling it "an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine." 

Asian supporters of shark and ocean conservation from anywhere in the world:

  • Please sign this petition, created by the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (APHOHA)
  • Please join the APHOHA Facebook page. The Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (“APAOHA” – rhymes with “ALOHA”) was created to represent Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) who support the proposed legislation to ban the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fin.  More info here. Note from Alliance Member Judy Ki (posted on Shark Savers Facebook page):

    "We need ALL Asian Pacific Americans to join our group APAOHA. This bill applies to California, but we need to unite and take back the argument that it is a culture clash, it is not!  Our opponents do not have a monopoly on Chinese culture. We need to unite behind this effort to ban shark finning in California. ALL Asian Pacific Americans who care about our planet are encouraged to join our group. Thank you!"

    Please note:  APAOHA welcomes support from all Asians and Pacific Islanders.  You do not have live in America to join and show your support!

Everyone, especially California residents: Please call or write to express your support. If you are live in the districts of Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman, it is important to let them know that you support the bill. If you llive in the district of Senator Yee, it is important to let him know you oppose his position against the bill. See contact instructions here

Update on Washington State SB 5688:

Following a public hearing on February 14, Washington State Senate Bill 5688 was ammended and passed by the Natural Resources & Marine Waters. The substitute bill may be downloaded here. The bill now proceeds to the Rules Committee. No further action or testimony is asked for at this time.

Update on Oregon House Bill 2838:

Oregon's HB 2838 was introduced by Representative Rep. Brad Witt in January. The bill would prohibit a person from possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading or distributing shark fins. The bill may be viewed here. No action or testimony is asked for at this time.