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Shark Fin Soup Could Be Off The Menu

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Thursday, March 10, 2011   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Shark fin soup may be off the menu at California's top Chinese restaurants if a bill to ban the delicacy is passed by the legislature. Similar to a new law in Hawaii, the California bill would make the possession, sale or distribution of shark fins illegal.

Assemblyman Paul Fong, author of Assembly Bill 376, says the practice of shark finning is brutal, since the fins are typically cut off of a shark while it's still alive.

"They're doing this to 73 million sharks every year. They're depleting the shark population by removing the fins and throwing the bodies back into the water, where they sink to the bottom or they suffocate and they die."

Jim Curland, marine program associate with Defenders of Wildlife, says not only is shark finning a gruesome practice, but it also poses a real threat to the survival of shark species.

"This is not an attack on the Asian culture; it's trying to preserve our shark populations because they're getting hammered so intensely."

Curland says sharks perform the role of a "keystone species" that has a positive impact on its eco-system.

"They're a top predator. If you diminish or cause shark populations to go extinct, you're going to lose a lot of the other marine species that are part of their system."

Conservationists say 90 percent of the world's shark population has disappeared because of overfishing. Opponents call the bill unfair because shark fin soup has been a part of Asian culture for thousands of years.

More information is available at www.defenders.org.





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