Shark Fin Trade Targeted by New Legislation | Oceana

Shark Fin Trade Targeted by New Legislation

Press Release Date: February 14, 2011

Location: San Francisco, CA


Anna Baxter | email:
Anna Baxter

Protection of sharks and ocean ecosystems is the focus of new legislation being introduced by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Mountain View) today. Assemblymember Fong held a press event this morning at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to discuss how his bill AB 376 seeks to protect sharks by banning the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California. Oceana commends Assemblymember Fong for his extraordinary leadership to protect species that have been swimming the world’s oceans for more than 400 million years.

“While shark finning is illegal in the U.S., consumption of shark fin soup in California contributes to shark finning in other parts of the world, a practice that is driving numerous shark populations to the brink of extinction, said Dr. Geoff Shester,” California Program Director at Oceana. “This bill will help reduce pressure on shark populations globally by ending the demand for shark fins in California.”

Fins are currently being imported to the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place. California has one of the largest markets for shark fins outside of Asia. AB 376 seeks to reduce the demand for shark fins by targeting the market for fins in California.

Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed for their fins, mostly to make shark fin soup. The demand for shark fin soup often drives shark finning. In this wasteful and cruel practice, a live 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 will bleed to death, drown, or are eaten by other species. In recent decades some shark populations have declined by as much as 90%. Removing sharks from ocean ecosystems can destabilize these systems and even lead to reductions in populations of other species, including commercially-caught fish and shellfish species lower in the food web. 


Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world’s oceans. Our teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America (Washington, DC; Juneau, AK; Kotzebue, AK; Portland, OR; Monterey, CA; New York, NY), Europe (Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium)Central America (Belize City, Belize) and South America (Santiago, Chile).  More than 500,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries have already joined Oceana.