I might play a blood-sucking vampire on “True Blood,” but in real life I’m a devoted animal lover and conservationist.
In the past few weeks, I’ve followed the proposed ban on the shark fin trade in California, and – in honor of Shark Week – I wanted to share a letter I recently wrote to California State Senator Paul Fong asking for his help to protect sharks:
Dear Assemblymember Fong and Members of the Legislature:
As an advocate for healthy oceans, I am writing in support of Assembly Bill 376 which will protect sharks and our ocean ecosystems by ending our state’s contribution to the global shark fin trade.
As you may be aware, sharks play an essential role in maintaining ocean health as top predators -- they’ve done it for more than 400 million years but now their decline threatens to destabilize the food web and impact commercially caught fish and shellfish species. We have a responsibility to protect these keystone predators.
In the wasteful and cruel practice of shark finning, a 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 bleed to death, drown, or are eaten by other species. Sharks are very vulnerable to exploitation since they typically produce few young and mature at an older age, which makes the practice of shark finning inherently unsustainable.
Washington signed similar legislation into state law this May and a bill has recently been passed by the Oregon legislature. Prior to that, a similar ban on the trade of shark fins was enacted in Hawaii in 2010 and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam in early 2011.
I urge California to show this same leadership in maintaining healthy oceans to help stop the unsustainable practice of shark finning that is wiping out these top predators around the globe.
Inspired by Kristin? You can do your part by telling the government to protect sharks, too!