Environmental News: Media Center
CHICAGO (August 6, 2013) - As Shark Week hits the airwaves, the State of Illinois’ new ban on trade in shark fins is starting to take effect. However, shark fin soup may still be popping up on menus in Chicago, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Following is a statement from NRDC policy advocate Nick Magrisso:
“As a landlocked City, Chicago usually doesn’t have much to celebrate during Shark Week. But as of July 1 of this year, it is illegal to buy, sell or possess shark fins in Illinois. That is a big deal because it helps take a bite out of the demand that fuels the brutal extermination of millions of sharks every year.
“Unfortunately, not everyone in Chicago has gotten the message about the ban and shark fin soup still appears on some menus around town. For Shark Week, we are calling on Chicago restaurants to finally go fin-free. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the law.”
Illinois is one of six states that have outlawed trade in shark fins to help limit the demand fueling an international market that threatens 1/3 of the world’s open ocean shark species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Shark finning is a brutal practice that kills an estimated 26-73 million animals annually, often times involving the fins being cut off live animals which are cast back into the sea where they drown.
The near universal support for Illinois' shark fin ban shows that the social license for dishes featuring the ingredient running out. NRDC’s call for a “fin-free Shark Week” is intended to remind Chicago’s restaurants about the new state law and update their menus, as shark fin dishes do still appear on many in town.
More information on the issue can be found at:
- Magrisso blogged about seeing shark fins on the menu in a Chicago restaurant over the weekend at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/nmagrisso/chicago_needs_to_go_fin-free_f.html.
- More info on Illinois’s ban bill at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2012/120702.asp
- More information on the practice of shark finning on NRDC’s Switchboard blog at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=sharkfin&limit=20