The new legislation introduced last week by Assemblymember
Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, AB 376, seeks to protect sharks by banning the possession,
sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California.
Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed for
their fins, mostly to make shark fin soup. The demand
for shark fin soup often drives shark finning. In this
wasteful and cruel practice, a live shark’s fins are sliced off while at sea and the remainder
of the animal is thrown back into the water to die.
Without fins, sharks will bleed to death, drown, or
are eaten by other species. In recent decades some
shark populations have declined by as much as 90 percent. Removing sharks from ocean ecosystems can
destabilize these systems and even lead to reductions
in populations of other species, including commercially-caught fish and shellfish species lower in the food
Pacific Communications Manager, Oceana
It's truly gratifying to see the overwhelming support
for banning the ugly shark fin trade (Assemblyman Paul Fong's AB 376).
On a related note, I wish there were equal concern
for the frogs and turtles in the Chinatown live food
markets. Unlike shark fins, these animals pose serious
health risks for those who eat them, as all are diseased
and parasitized., with everything from salmonella,
E. coli, pasturella (can be fatal in humans) to giardia, blood parasites, even one case of malaria.
California annually imports two million American bullfrogs
and some 300,000 turtles for human consumption. The frogs are commercially
raised in Taiwan, the turtles all taken from the wild,
depleting local populations. None are native here,
and the exotics cause major harm
when released into California waters. The majority
of the frogs carry the dreaded chytrid fungus. Many
are butchered while fully conscious.
Though the Dept. of Fish & Game has received nearly 4,000 letters in support of a ban on market frog/turtle importation, they have failed to act, for political
reasons. Not acceptable. Legislation, lawsuits, perhaps
a ballot initiative are in order.
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS, Oakland