In partnership with WildAid, NRDC, the Humane Society and noted friends
Open Letter to CA State Senators to Support AB 376
June 24, 2011
Members of the California State Senate
Sacramento, CA 95814
We are writing to ask for your support in regards to shark conservation. Your support for Assembly Bill 376 will acknowledge the importance of the continued existence of the shark species to maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has concluded that a third of shark species are now threatened with extinction of some kind. And recent estimates state that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for use in shark fin soup and other products. Traditionally shark fin was affordable only to the elite, and consequently the issue of decimation of species was not a concern. But with the explosion of the world’s population, and an increasing number of wealthy consumers, this can no longer be considered true, as has been evidenced by the decimation of shark populations worldwide. Despite fisheries attempts at regulation, the inhumane practice of finning continues unabated too, as does the illegal capture of sharks from marine reserves and sovereign waters.
While some opponents to AB 376 argue that there are ways to handle the practice other than completely banning shark fin consumption, all attempts at regulation thus far have been ineffective and there is no evidence that any further attempts at regulation would be successful. Many shark populations do not have time for costly experiments. Shark fin is sourced from all over the world, and enforcement at sea is virtually impossible due to the sheer size of the ocean primarily, but also because there is no uniform governing body to carry out such enforcement, due mainly to the sovereignty of nations. Therefore, a sales ban, which has broad support from the public at large, including the Asian and Asian American populations, is absolutely necessary if we are to conserve sharks and, in effect, our entire ocean ecosystem (which incidentally we depend upon for most of the world’s oxygen) for generations to come. Since California is now the largest source of demand for shark fin outside of Asia, we are in a unique position to lead the world in shark conservation with AB 376.
We urge you to support AB 376 and join us in protecting sharks from extinction.
President and CEO
Grammy Award Winner
United Nations Foundation
Founder, IS Foundation
CEO, Earth Echo International