California bans the shark fin trade as Governor Brown signs AB 376 into law

Posted on October 7, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers

2008_Galapagos_07151_-650.jpgToday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 376, which bans the sale and possession of shark fins in California.

This is a great step forward for sharks and the oceans and we thank Governor Brown for his important action. California now becomes the largest economy in the world to outlaw the destructive shark fin trade. It is also the 4th state in the United States to ban shark fins, joining Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state, effectively shutting down the West Coast as a port, distribution center, and market for the shark fin trade.

AB 376 was authored by Assemblymembers Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael). AB 376 passed the Assembly by a vote of 65 to 8 on May 23rd and the Senate on September 6th with a vote of 25 to 9. Both of the votes were bipartisan. We thank Assemblymen Fong and Huffman for fighting so long and hard for this bill.

In his statement, Governor Brown stated, “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. 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.”

Shark Savers considers this bill, and others like it, one of the most important ocean conservation measures taken. The shark fin trade has been devastating to shark populations. Sharks are critical to the healthy balance and functioning of the oceans. Scientists have increasingly been warning of the possibility of a "trophic cascade", the collapse of the ocean food chain as a result of losing sharks, the ocean's apex predators. We need bills like this and we need to protect sharks.

California is a beacon for other states and countries with Governor Brown's signing of this bill to ban the shark fin trade. There is international momentum towards shark protection, with the recent declaration of a shark sanctuary in the Marshall Islands and previous announcements in Palau, the Maldives, the Bahamas, Honduras, and Raja Ampat Indonesia. Mexico recently declared a moratorium on shark fishing. Costa Rica has tripled the size of its world-famous sanctuary in Cocos Island. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands outlawed the shark fin trade earlier this year.

Shark Savers has been working hard to contribute to this great accomplishment. The coalition of organizations and individuals, of which we were just one part, worked harmoniously and unceasingly right up until this signing of the bill by Governor Brown. We know that many of you contributed to this effort with your letters, phone calls, or emails. We thank Lush Cosmetics for participating so enthusiastically and energetically in our campaign to pass AB 376, bringing this message and enlisting the support of their customers.

Thank you all for being a part of this great victory.

ban-the-fin-logo200.gifKeep th the momentum going by joining our Ban the Fin campaign!

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