Things may be looking up for sharks, and it won’t be a moment too soon.
Addressing the billion-dollar global trade in shark fins, the California Senate has voted to ban the sale or possession of these body parts.
It’s a brutal industry, in which these animals are fished out of the water to have their fins cut off, and are then thrown back in the sea to die. The fins are used to make shark fin soup, which is considered trendy.
The Bahamas and Honduras have prohibited shark fishing. Several Western Pacific island nations, including Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, have banned shark fishing. And there’s a small but growing campaign in several Asian countries to bring an end to shark finning.
The Independent newspaper has a story on the Dive Tribe, an environmental group that buys baby sharks back from markets and restaurants in Thailand and returns them to the ocean. The story also quotes the maritime conservation group Oceana as saying that up to 73 million sharks are finned each year around the world, depleting many populations by as much as 90 percent.
And the New York Times talks about the new bill in California, now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, and other initiatives. The article notes that the Food Network recently removed all shark recipes from its offerings, and that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been pressing Chinese restaurants in London to renounce the soup this year.
Asian celebrities, including basketball star Yao Ming, have joined in the campaign, as in this video spot:
What you can do: If you find yourself in a restaurant where shark fin soup is on the menu, tell the manager you’ve decided not to eat there (and why), and go to another restaurant.