Beginning in 2013 the possession, sale and trade of shark fins in California will no longer be legal. It came down to the wire but California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed AB376 into law on October 7, 2011. This is a big win for sharks and a great victory for the many organizations who worked tirelessly on this legislation. We here at Defenders want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all the supporters who wrote to their congressional members and the governor lending their voices of support for passage of the bill.
Over 73 million sharks are killed each year by finning, a process that involves cutting off the shark’s fins, often while it is still alive, and throwing the shark back overboard where it can sink to the ocean floor and eventually die. Many shark populations have collapsed worldwide due to overfishing, with some populations declining as much as 90-99%. California now joins a growing worldwide movement to protect this rapidly dwindling species.
After signing the bill Governor Brown had the following to say: “The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans. Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”