Wednesday, March 26, 2014

California Judge upholds Shark Fin Ban

California Judge upholds Shark Fin Ban

Photo Credit: Planet Ocean News 
Every year, millions of sharks are killed for their fins in order to supply the Shark Fin Soup demand.  Shark Fin Soup is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries and even in Asian communities within the U.S. Because of the high demand for Shark Fin Soup, which can fetch as much as $100 per bowl, the global shark population is in danger. Did you know that 1 in 4 species of shark are at risk of extinction? Sharks are a vital member of our marine ecosystem and without them, we could face major problems such as food chain imbalance and ecosystem collapse. Not only is this a senseless demand that humans strive to feed, but the method used to obtain the shark fins is extremely barbaric. Fishermen cut the fins off of the sharks while at sea and throw the living body back into the ocean to die a slow, agonizing death while drifting the bottom of the ocean.

Animal rights advocates from all over the globe have united in an effort to stop this horrific practice and irresponsible supply and demand model in California. Sea Save Foundation’s Director, Georgienne Bradley, testified at the AB 376 Appropriation in Sacramento and other Sea Save members have spent countless hours bringing this issue to public awareness.  Finally, in the summer of 2011, Assembly Bill 376 passed in California making the selling and serving of shark fin soup illegal. Ocean preservationists everywhere let out a sigh of relief as a battle was won in the war to save sharks.  But before they could celebrate, the Asian community in San Francisco struck back deeming the new bill as discriminatory.
Photograph by Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images
Multiple Chinese-American business associations in the Bay Area challenged the bill and claimed it to target the Chinese community and exceeded California’s right to regulate fishing. The suit has been gaining some momentum, even raising concerns from the Obama Administration that the law clashed with federal fishing laws. The Obama Administration later changed it’s stance when wildlife officials explained that the law could be “harmonized” and that the point of federal laws is protect and conserve the environment, which is what AB 376 aims to accomplish.

Tuesday was a monumental day in the history of AB 376; Federal Judge William Orrick III ruled to uphold AB376 and dismissed the suit as non-discriminatory. "People of Chinese origin or culture undoubtedly, overwhelmingly, comprise the market for shark fin," the judge explained, "However, a law is not unconstitutional simply because it has a racially disparate impact." This law mandates that the selling of serving of shark fins will be punishable by law and will continue to be enforced throughout the entire state of California. The opposition to the law has the opportunity to appeal it at a later date in court.

Read the original article at