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Bill To Ban Shark Finning In Calif. Moves To Full Senate

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The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday passed Assembly Bill 376 - a ban on the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins.

The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday passed Assembly Bill 376 - a ban on the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins.

More than 73 million sharks are killed every year through finning, where the sharks' fins are sliced off and the rest of the fish is tossed into the ocean to die.

The legislation has created a cultural divide among California's Asian-American lawmakers.

The bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and supported by various environmental groups.

Critics, including Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) have argued the bill as introduced would have a "dubious" effect on reducing worldwide finning while unfairly targeting Chinese-Americans.

The Appropriations Committee, chaired by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) voted 5-to-2 with Senators Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Hills) and Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) opposed the bill. Kehoe voted in favor of passing the legislation.

San Diego County supporters of the legislation include retired science teacher Judy Ki, who co-chairs the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance.

The APAOH was formed to give voice to Asian-Pacific Americans who favor banning the practice of shark finning in California.

The bill next goes to the Senate Floor.

"We'll have until September 9 to pass the bill and get it to Governor Jerry Brown," said Ki. "If the governor looks at all the facts and the science, I feel really good about him signing it."

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