California institutes ban on eating shark fin soup

People in California can no longer eat the Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup. California officially made it illegal to sell or possess shark fin. The ban is a part of a growing movement worldwide to save the shark population. But there are some Chinese who feel California’s ban on shark fin is unfair and discriminatory.

Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese cooking that dates back hundreds of years. The expensive dish has become increasingly popular as more Chinese are getting wealthy. But conservationists, like Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay, say the demand for shark fin is devastating the shark population.

“Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fin alone,” noted Sikich. Many of the sharks are caught and killed in the Pacific near Costa Rica.

Ms. Sikich says the practice of finning is popular among fishermen who would catch the shark, slice off the fin and throw the fish back into the ocean to die.

Barbara Long at the Aquarium of the Pacific says when the shark population is put at risk, the health of the ocean is also in danger.

“Sharks are a top predator and play a very vital role in marine ecosystems,” said Ms. Long.

But opponents of the California ban say the law unfairly targets the Chinese community because it only bans shark fin and not the entire shark. California State Sen. Ted Lieu voted against the ban.

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