Last week, the California Senate passed a bill that made a big statement: Sharks should be swimming in the wild, not in shark fin soup.
The bill bans the trade of shark fins in the state, and if signed into law by the Governor, will mean a complete West Coast ban on the trade of shark fins -- a monumental victory for sharks in the Pacific. Oceana, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Humane Society of the United States and WildAid all played a big part in supporting this legislation.
Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins, mostly to make shark fin soup. Shark finning is a horrific practice in which a shark's fins are sliced off at sea and the shark is thrown back in the water to bleed to death. Thankfully, shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, but that doesn't stop the shark fin trade.
Shark populations around the world are crashing, which has cascading consequences on the marine food web. Sharks keep marine ecosystems in balance; we need sharks to maintain healthy oceans. This bill protects the at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.
Oceana has been working to protect sharks around the globe for years, and this legislation builds on our momentum to increase shark protections, including the U.S.'s shark finning ban passed last year, and a national ban on finning in Chile passed this July. The California bill adds to similar legislation passed this year in Washington and Oregon, and last year in Hawaii.
These majestic predators have been swimming the world's oceans for more than 400 million years, and we should keep them where they belong -- in the wild, with their fins firmly attached.
If you're a California resident, you can help. Ask Governor Brown to pass this bill, AB 376, by Oct. 9 in order to become law. You can reach the Governor's office at 916-445-2841.