Shark Supporters Make Their Case at Capitol

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Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), actress Bo Derek, Sue Chen of SharkSavers and Peter Knights of WildAid held a press conference at the State Capitol on Aug. 15.

SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) said he was proud to be part of Shark Day, Aug. 15, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

The day included an AB 376 press conference with supporters from the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (APAOHA) and actress Bo Derek (“10”), Sue Chen of Shark Savers, and Peter Knights of WildAid, who are in support of AB 376 and the end to shark finning.

Shark Day was a day to educate the public about the importance of sharks in the oceans’ ecosystems and their devastating decline due to finning, the practice of cutting off the fins of a live shark and throwing the rest the body overboard, leaving the shark to drown or be eaten alive by other animals.

Derek, Chen, and Knights, along with APAHOA and numerous other ocean conservation groups, testified before the Senate Committee on Appropriations in support of AB 376, authored by Assemblymembers Fong and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael). Many other groups and individuals also urged the committee to pass the shark protection bill.

“I’m honored to have such strong supporters of the bill who are joining together to protect sharks from decimation and our oceans’ ecosystems from irreversible damage,” said Fong.

“Sharks are the top predators in ocean ecosystems around the world,” said Huffman. “Removing them by this senseless act of finning can seriously destabilize the food chain. To save them from extinction, our bill targets the demand for these shark fins by banning their sale and possession here in California.”

Reaching upwards of $600 a pound, fins are sought after as opposed to shark meat, which is approximately $1 per pound. The fins are processed, dried and shipped for consumption. Driving the demand is shark fin soup because it is a favorable dish to serve at banquets and special events to show affluence. It is estimated that over 7 tons were imported last year.

With scientists estimating 34 percent of the world’s sharks already extinct, and up to 99 percent of species decimated, the current generation may be the one that is responsible for killing off a species that has been around for over 450 million years, Fong said.

Fong serves as chair of the Elections and Redistricting Committee and is a member of the Higher Education, Utilities and Commerce, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees. In addition, Fong serves as chair of the select committees on High Technology and Climate Change and Coastal Protection and is a member of the select committees on Aerospace, Biotechnology, Community Colleges, Domestic Violence, and Innovation and the Bay Area Economy. He represents Cupertino, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose.

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2 Comments

  1. “With scientists estimating 34 percent of the world’s sharks already extinct, and up to 99 percent of species decimated, the current generation may be the one that is responsible for killing off a species that has been around for over 450 million years, Fong said.”

    What scientists, please support this statement with facts.

    34% cite exact study.

    99% of species cite exact study.

  2. Daniel,

    Thank you for pointing out a couple of mis-quotations in the reporter’s article. The facts are:

    The 34% should really state that 1/3 of open-ocean shark species are threatened with extinction, and that number comes from the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group (SSG) report of 2009.

    The 99% of species decimated is not correct, and should state that some species have been decimated such that their populations have been reduced beyond 90% of their original numbers (i.e., less than 10% remaining). This statistic comes from two separate sources 1) “Cascading Top-Down Effects of Changing Oceanic Predator Abundances” in the Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 78, Baum & Worm 2009; and 2) “Collapse and Conservation of Shark Populations in the Northwest Atlantic” in Science, Volume 299, Baum, Myers, Kehler, Worm, Harley, & Doherty, 2003.

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