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Calif. Shark Fin Ban Upheld In Federal Court

A federal appeals court has upheld California's new law that bans the practice of cutting off a shark's fin to use in an exotic Chinese soup.

A female mako shark being finned at a shark fishing camp, Santa Rosalia, Mexico.
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Above: A female mako shark being finned at a shark fishing camp, Santa Rosalia, Mexico.

The law prohibiting the sale, trade or possession of shark fins was signed two years ago but took effect in July.

Jennifer Fearing with the Humane Society of the Uniteda States calls the ruling a victory.

"When you think that prior to July 1st, there was an ample, thriving above-ground market, we know we've gone a long way in just the last couple of months towards limiting California's contribution to this trade, and I expect vigorous enforcement of the law by the state," said Fearing.

Here's how "finning" works: fishermen pull sharks out of the water, cut off their fins and throw the fish back in. The sharks then drown or bleed to death.

The law's opponents say it unfairly targets the Chinese community, where the soup is a cultural delicacy. This is the second federal court challenge, but so far opponents of the law have come up short.

Ten other states have similar laws on the books.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | August 27, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Cultural delicacy is no excuse. The Chinese also used to bind the feet of their female children. When change was enforced the argument was the cultural right of a man and father to keep his women in their place.

There are plenty of other soups people can eat. Leave the sharks alone.

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