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Shark Fin Ban Likely To Be Approved In New York State

First Posted: 02/22/2012 3:23 pm Updated: 02/22/2012 3:23 pm

While Senator Charles Schumer occupies his time by waging war against inhalable sticks of fun, legislators are working on a more serious bill that will likely ban the sale and distribution of shark fin in New York state.

The push follows a string of similar bills enacted by California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington in an effort to prevent future slaughter preserve the dwindling shark population left. Several other states have legislation pending.

While the bill is receiving high marks from environmentalists, the potential ban is causing a stir amongst Chinese Americans due to a popular broth created by the fin to serve a traditional delicacy in Chinese culture.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to Dr. Giam Choo Hoo who defended, "Most fins are humanely taken from landed, dead sharks" and said that the ban would be culturally discriminatory because other delicacies such as caviar have not received such negative hype.

But most in the science community, who claim 73 million sharks are slaughtered annually just for the soup, are praising the move. In reaction to the announcement, scientist and senior vice president of Oceana Dr. Michael Hirshfield said, "Demand for shark fin soup is responsible for the slaughter of these magnificent creatures so essential to the health of our oceans. Oceans without sharks are oceans out of balance, which means trouble for everyone who depends on oceans for food, jobs and enjoyment."

Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who represents Flushing, is the daughter of immigrant parents who once owned several restaurants that served shark fin. Meng spoke of her affinity for the delicacy and acknowledged that the ban would be a tough adjustment for the Chinese American community, but stressed, "it’s important to be responsible citizens."

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Filed by Inae Oh  |