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California Senate Passes Landmark Shark Conservation Bill

The California Senate passed Assembly Bill 376 today by a vote of 25 to 9. The bill, which previously passed the state Assembly by a vote of 60 to 8, effectively prohibits the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins within the state. Given his strong environmental record, Governor Brown is expected to sign this into law as soon as next week. California is said to be the largest source of demand for shark fins outside of Asia, so this bill represents a major step toward reducing pressure on shark populations.

California Shark Fin Ban Passes Important Hurdle

Today, Assembly Bill 376, which would ban the sale, trade and possession of shark fins in the state of California, cleared the state Senate Appropriations Committee on a 5-2 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate floor, where a vote is expected in the next couple of weeks.

Global Update on Shark Fin Legislation

Over the past few months, WildAid has been hard at work promoting, advocating, and lobbying for California’s AB 376, a proposed bill that would outlaw the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins within the state’s borders. In May, the bill passed the California Assembly by a vote of 60 to 8, and just recently passed the California Senate’s Natural Resources Committee with a vote of 5 to 0, with two abstentions. In the coming months, the bill will head to the Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the Senate Floor and, if passed, on to the Governor’s desk.

Taiwan Set to Become First in Asia to Ban Shark Finning at Sea

Taiwan announced plans on Sunday to require fishermen to keep shark catches fully in tact until they arrive in port, a measure meant to prevent finning at sea. Taiwan, where an estimated 4 million sharks are killed annually, will become the first Asian country to implement such a regulation when it takes effect early next year.

James Sha, Director of Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency, told reporters, “Any violators may be fined, barred from leaving ports, have their catches confiscated or even have their fishing boat licenses revoked.”

Chile, the Bahamas and Fiji Join the Global Movement to Protect Sharks

The global movement against the shark fin trade gains momentum with Chile, the Bahamas and Fiji all introducing legislation this week that would reduce the trade.

Not only is the declining shark population potentially devastating to marine ecosystems, but also certain nations are realizing the economic value of sharks as a tourist draw. According to the Pew Environmental Group, tourism brings in USD$80 million annually in the Bahamas, with each reef shark estimated to be worth about USD$250,000.

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