Mayoral Candidates Urge Brown to Sign Shark Bill

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Assemblymember Paul Fong (center) with three mayoral candidates (from left): San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, and San Francisco Assessor Phil Ting.

SAN FRANCISCO — Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and other community leaders, including four candidates for mayor of San Francisco, on Sept. 26 urged Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the California Shark Protection Act, Assembly Bill 376.

At a press conference at Pier 39’s Fog Harbor Fish House, Fong was joined by:

David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and mayoral candidate;

Phil Ting, San Francisco assessor-recorder and mayoral candidate;

Michela Alioto-Pier, former San Francisco supervisor and mayoral candidate;

Joanna Rees, businesswoman and mayoral candidate;

Sue Chen, CEO of Nova Ortho-Med;

Susan Atherton, vice chair of the Humane Society Legislative Fund;

Christopher Chin and Mike Kwan of the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (APAOHA).

Speakers condemned the practice of shark finning and called on Brown to join the worldwide effort supported by Yao Ming, Sir Richard Branson and other dignitaries to ban the shark fin trade in California. In addition, Hong Kong-based actress Sharon Kwok, a vocal international shark advocate, was scheduled to visit Brown’s office to urge him to sign the legislation.

Reaching upwards of $600 dollars a pound, fins are sought after, as opposed to shark meat, which sells for approximately $1 a pound. Once the fins are removed, the shark is thrown overboard to die. The fins are then processed, dried, and shipped for consumption. Driving the demand is shark fin soup, a dish served at banquets and special events to demonstrate affluence.

“It is time to stop serving a soup that is driving sharks to extinction,” said Fong. “As a Chinese American, I am very proud of my Chinese culture. We are environmentally conscious, believe in harmony with nature, and it is in our culture to support the protection of our environment. This is about saving our sharks, saving our ocean’s ecosystem, and saving humanity.”

The mayoral candidates said there is widespread support for AB 376 among San Francisco voters.

The measure is opposed by at least two other mayoral candidates, Mayor Ed Lee and State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), as well as State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Assemblymembers Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park).

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