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Shark Finning Bill Passes In Committee

A bill to ban the sale or possession of shark fins sailed through a legislative committee Tuesday.

Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong wrote the measure which would also ban a Chinese specialty: shark fin soup. Fong said it would also prohibit the practice known as “finning.”

“Most shark’s fins come from the process called finning, where the fins and tails are cut from living sharks and the remainder of the fish, often which is still alive, is thrown back into the ocean,” Fong said. “Mutilated and no longer able to swim, sharks thrown back overboard then sink to the bottom of the ocean, bleeding, drowning and then eaten by other animals.”

Fong’s bill passed its first committee unanimously.

Critics of the legislation include many Chinese restaurant owners as well as Democratic State Senator Leland Yee. Yee calls the bill “an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine.” Yee said those sharks that are “well-populated” should be sustainably fished.

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