California Joins West Coast States to Protect Sharks

Governor Brown Signs Shark Finning Ban (AB 376) into Law

SACRAMENTO (October 7, 2011) – Joining Hawaii, Oregon and Washington State, Governor Jerry Brown today signed landmark legislation making it illegal to sell, trade or possess shark fins in California. Nearly 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, which are used in shark fin soup. AB 376 will put an end to California’s contribution to the shark fin trade that drives overfishing, poaching, and waste. 

“AB 376 helps protect sharks and the health of our ocean by reducing the demand for fins that drives the slaughter of sharks,” said Ann Notthoff, NRDC’s director of California advocacy. “Sharks are valuable apex species of the sea and without them the ocean would be in big trouble. Today, Governor Brown put California in the lead on the critical conservation issue and we hope other states take note.”

“The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans,” said Governor Jerry Brown. “Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”

Other governments around the world have taken similar action to that of California. Chile, the Bahamas, Honduras, the Maldives, and Palau have all joined to outlaw shark finning. Fiji is considering banning all shark meat and products, especially the trade of shark fins. Micronesia, including Guam and the Marshall Islands, are taking protection even further by seeking to ban shark fishing in “more than 2 million square miles of their waters.”