Conservationists say stronger protections needed for sharks

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An international marine conservation organization is calling on the federal government to protect the world's dwindling shark populations by banning imports of shark products from countries that have weak protections in place.

In an Aug. 1 letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Oceana asks the U.S. government to ban imports of shark products, such as dried fins, from China, Japan, Indonesia, and a dozen other countries where conservation regulations governing shark fishing are weaker than in the United States.

"What we're proposing here is a separate tool" from Assembly Bill 376, the proposed California legislation that would ban the sale or distribution of shark fins, said Oceana marine scientist Rebecca Greenberg. That effort has generated controversy because it would clamp down on the sale of shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy traditionally served at special occasions such as weddings.

The shark fin ban is a particularly hot topic in San Francisco, where Sen. Leland Yee, who has voiced opposition to AB 376, is considered a top tier candidate in the mayor's race. Some pro-AB 376 activists recently created a Facebook page and an online coalition called Sharks Against Leland Yee.

Oceana's efforts, however, seek to go way beyond the West Coast by banning imports of shark products from 15 different countries. "Of course they want to be able to keep on exporting to the U.S.," said Greenberg. "It'll encourage them to improve their domestic shark regulations."

Oceana's 21-page letter is the product of extensive research into the countries' conservation regulations (or lack thereof) and an analysis of shark product imports to the U.S.

Hong Kong dominates the global trade in shark fins, the letter notes, and dried shark fins were imported from Hong Kong to Oakland in January of this year. Indonesia, meanwhile, is listed as the top shark fishing nation in the world, with its fleet accounting for 13 percent of the global reported catch. Other countries on the list include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, and Spain.

The federal Shark Conservation Act, enacted last year, made it illegal for fishing crews to slash fins off sharks aboard the boats, instead requiring them to return to port with fins still attached to the sharks they have caught. This regulation is meant as a way to guard against the unsustainable practice of catching a shark, slicing off the valuable fin, and leaving the animal to die in the open ocean. Accompanying this rule are limits on how many sharks can be removed from the ocean, which "ensures the shark population isn't being fished to death," Greenberg said. Whether or not other countries have "fins attached" policies was a key criteria Oceana used to determine whether the other countries have adequate regulations, Greenberg said.

The Shark Conservation Act also provided the U.S. with a tool to ensure that other countries followed its example, by sanctioning countries that have not adopted a regulatory program for the conservation of sharks that is comparable to that of the US.

Oceana's aim was to help the National Marine Fisheries Service by identifying which countries the U.S. imports from that are catching sharks without adequate regulations. "We gave them the information," she said, "and we do hope that they will take action against this."

UPDATE: Adam Keigwin of Sen. Leland Yee's office has contacted the Guardian with more information about Yee's stance on the shark fin ban. "If Assemblyman [Paul] Fong keeps his word and takes the amendment he promised to take in the last committee, Senator Yee will likely support AB 376," Keigwin wrote. The amendment, he explained, would ban all fins besides those from domestic sharks that are brought fully intact on shore for various products. "Also," he added, "Ed Lee has expressed opposition to the bill."

Comments

Thank you Rebecca.
www.seashepherd.org

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

Thank you for this article Rebecca.

Posted by Judy Ki on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

As it was, AB 376 made absolutely no sense at all. It would've been like fixing a gopher problem with a nuclear bomb. But with the amendment, it starts to become a more reasonable bill. That way, you're at least targeting the practice of finning and throwing the shark away, while still allowing shark fins to be harvested from sharks that are used for food anyway, most of which are not endangered.

So will "Sharks Against Leland Yee" now change their name to "Sharks Against Ed Lee" given that Ed has also said he opposes the bill? Something tells me that they won't. I'd be curious where that group is getting some of their funding.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 02, 2011 @ 7:46 am

Allow some fins to be harvested and you open the door to continued smuggling.

According to the California Fish and Game Wardens, the practice of shark finning is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce!

The proposed "amendment" permanently stains the bill as ineffectual. I definitely do not follow your argument on how this could possibly make AB 376 "more reasonable"

I'm sure that sharks don't discriminate.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 12:12 am

Not sure who Adam is, but here's where I'm coming from. I'm an omnivore. I think it's fine to eat animals, as long as you're not eating endangered species or being needlessly cruel.

I think we can both agree that
1) Taking the fin from a shark and throwing away the shark is needlessly cruel (and wasteful)
2) We shouldn't eat endangered sharks

But most sharks eaten in California are eaten for their meat, not their fins. Only a small cultural minority here eats shark fins. I see no problem in taking sharks that are imported intact, for meat, and letting the fins from those sharks be eaten as well. In fact, mandating that the fins from *those* sharks be discarded, when the shark is being eaten for food anyway, would be incredibly wasteful.

As far as the endangered species issue, look up shark fin soup on Wiki, and you'll find (I'm sure to your surprise), that of the 10 species commonly used for shark fin soup, only 1 is endangered. I understand that once the fins are harvested, you can't tell which species they came from. But remember, the amendment allows importing only intact sharks to be used for food anyway.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 7:29 am

@Greg,

As a long time environmental activist, I can tell you that you are -way- off on this one, for many very important reasons.

1) As a previous poster said, a ban on the act of finning itself is totally impossible to enforce. We would have to place inspectors on every single fishing boat and there is no way in hell that is going to happen. But -most- importantly, forcing fisheries to bring in intact sharks won't change anything. Since the fin is by far the most valuable part of the shark, tens of millions of sharks will continue to be killed. The only way to actually solve this problem is to make shark derived products -themselves- illegal for sale and purchase.

2) The world's oceans are now in a total state of terrible collapse. You simply have no idea how totally devastating modern fishing methods and global warming/CO2 damage have become. Anyone working seriously on ocean protection will tell you that humans must simply stop eating marine life -immediately- period. No eating fish of any kind, or the global ocean ecosystem will likely be destroyed. And if that happens, land ecosystems will follow, meaning humans will be finished.

3) This isn't just about endangered species. There is a far more important reality. Sharks are the top predators of ocean habitats and we are wiping them out in huge numbers. Whenever you remove a top predator from a bioregion, this causes that bioregion to go completely haywire, and rapidly collapse. So it is the sharks' key importance as keystone anchor species in ocean habitats that is crucial here, whether they are endangered or not. Sharks worldwide -must- be immediately taken -completely- off the menu to help rapidly halt the global ocean life collapse that I described in point 2.

4) Your claims about shark finning being a minor aspect of shark fishing are simply wildly incorrect. See http://www.seashepherd.org/sharks/shark-finning.html

To begin getting the facts about sharks, their profound importance, and the great danger that they are in, watch the documentary SharkWater. It can be viewed on YouTube in 9 parts starting at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vog3z1NsMYU

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:06 am

Hi.

I live in Denmark, and I' m very concerned about the killing of the sharks, whales and other marine animals, the overfishing and the destroying and pollution of the oceans. Aswell as the deforestation especially in Indonesia and South America.

To me it seems like, that many people arent really aware of how serious it really is, or they are to uninformed of whats going on about these important and serious issues or they just don' t care that much about it.

I have also got the impression, that most of the people from countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan don' t have any compassion, empathy and respect for other living sentient beeings, we share the Planet with, because of their abuse, mistreatment cruelty, suffering, pain and exploitation they cause, inflict and carry out on the animals.

The domestic aswell as the wild animals in the most terrible and horrible ways and without any thougts and consideration of how their actions and bad behavior towards animals, are having a negative impact on their surroundings and the environment/nature and wild habitats.

It does' nt seem like they care about, how they are making many endangered species getting closer and closer to extermination, because of their use for these animals for food, traditionel medicin and superstition.

I just wonder, how and why they can be so noncaring and disrespectful about it, and the consequenses of their irresponsible, greedy, inhumane, mean, viscious and destructive abuse and gross negligent exploitation of wild animals.

Posted by Marianne on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

@Greg

For you to say that most sharks are eaten for their meat, not their fins, shows that you are either not paying attention or are purposely twisting the facts.

As Erick said,

"But -most- importantly, forcing fisheries to bring in intact sharks won't change anything. SINCE THE FIN IS BY FAR THE MOST VALUABLE PART OF THE SHARK, tens of millions of sharks will continue to be killed. The only way to actually solve this problem is to make shark derived products -themselves- illegal for sale and purchase."

Ask any shark conservationist and they'll tell you they're not very optimistic about the chances of sharks surviving - at the rate we're killing them for their fins.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

Marianne:
I'm sorry, but this just sounds racist:
"most of the people from countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan don' t have any compassion, empathy and respect for other living sentient beeings"

This is exactly the kind of attitude that I have a problem with. We do horrible things to animals here in the United States. If white people ate shark fin soup, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. And then... what about countries full of white people that are also on that list, like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Spain? Do they have no compassion either? Their inclusion on the list, as well as the inclusion of Latin American countries seems to clash with your theme of "Asian people have no compassion for life like we do," no?

Perhaps, Marianne, the fact that America is once again wagging its finger at so many countries, is NOT a sign that people in those countries are less compassionate than us Americans (when we're not bombing the crap out of the rest of the world!), but maybe... just maybe... could this be another example of cultural imperialism with an undercurrent of racism?

Something to think about.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

Greg, whether particular opponents of shark fishing have racist attitudes has nothing to with this.

Shark populations are being decimated and it needs to stop immediately.

PETA uses sexist ads to oppose fur.

Does that mean we should not oppose fur?

Let's return this conversation to sanity, ok?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

For sanity, see my response below. But you must agree that people like Marianne do the cause no favors.

Speaking of fur... take an animal like a rabbit. I think rabbit is delicious. If you accept that it's OK for people to eat rabbit, do you think that we should throw away and waste the fur? Should we use the fur of a rabbit that has already been killed for food (or the leather from a cow for that matter), or should we pass a law mandating that the fur/leather should be thrown into the garbage and instead we should manufacture more synthetic fabrics with chemicals and plastic? Which will of course go into the ocean in the end!

I think it's an interesting question, because it's closely related to the question of whether we should mandate that the fins of a shark that's *already* been used for meat, should be thrown into the garbage instead of being used to feed people.

Now if you choose to sidestep the question and answer that we shouldn't eat animals like rabbits, cows, and sharks at all... well then sorry, you lost me there.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

Yes, Greg.

Of course I've lost you at this point.

Because you simply do not appear to grasp that this planet is in deep fucking shit and if people don't take massive personal action to stop killing things as much as they can, and eat as low on the food chain as they possibly can, we are all fucked.

Get it?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

Pardon the pun.

Basically, all the environmental problems, all the carbon footprint problems, all the ocean collapse problems... they all boil down to this: there are too. many. people. If the world population was at a level that it was a hundred years ago, we could eat anything we want and it wouldn't matter. So what do we do to get us there? Have fewer kids of course. Basically, if you're having two or fewer kids, then you're part of the solution, even if you're eating shark fin soup. If you're having more than 2, then you're part of the problem even if you never touch the stuff.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

Greg, negative human lifestyle impacts on this planet are increasing -faster- than population is. Population is a symptom, not a cause.

Population growth is actually beginning to level off and eventually will reverse.

The most powerful driver of slowing and turning population growth around is education of women, and providing birth control. Population is a fairly easily solved problem.

Rampant eating high on the food and energy chains is not.

We need to shift our diets and energy use rapidly to stop the global crisis.

For example, just adopting a vegan diet cuts your personal greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%.

It is in drastically changing human and corporate impacts that we can truly save the world.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

And I refuse to feel guilty about it.

If banning consumption of shark fin soup is the first step on the way to forced veganism for all of us, then I hate to tell you but you're just going to have to find another way to save the oceans. Because it

ain't

gonna

happen.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 12:07 am

Greg, no one is asking you to do things you are not ready for.

The point is that you need to do your best to eat as low on the food chain as possible.

It took me ten years to go vegan.

Absolutism is not required, but real effort and real change is.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 12:17 am

Very open minded. Do you call yourself a progressive? That attitude does not sound progressive at all. It sounds just the opposite. Mind. Locked. Shut.

My partner and I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and we may be a vegan in the future. Some of the things we eat already are vegan, especially desserts.

We feel that an animal or beautiful sea creature should not have to give up its life so that we can have meal. That includes a bowl of soup. There are many other kinds of soups out there that one can eat. There are entire recipe books dedicated just to soups alone, so one does not have to eat shark fin soup and the idea of eating shark fin soup sounds absolutely disgusting to me.

Many people expect positive change to come from a politician. Real change must come from within people themselves by them changing their behavior and making changes in their choices. Unfortunately, that seems to be impossible for most people to do, including many people who call themselves a progressive. They put up vehement resistance to it and excuses for it. If it involves someone not eating how they have been programmed to eat or have always eaten, watch out! The Wall of Resistance will rise very quickly.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 2:44 am

You vegetarians with your holier-than-thou attitudes think that you're so much better than us omnivores because you don't kill poor little animals.

But you know what I think? I think you're being species-ist. Why do you draw the line at animals vs. plants? Have you ever considered that question? Is it because they can't feel pain or they don't have a consciousness? How do you know? Because our human-based measurements tell us so? I know some plant lovers who would argue differently. And what gives you the right to draw the line at pain/consciousness or any other arbitrary line anyway? Plants and animals are all living things, and for you to argue that animals are better than plants and not worth eating seems like an artificial and animal-centric line to draw.

Is it because animals are so "beautiful?" Well I think plants are beautiful too. Why should a beautiful turnip give up its life so that you can have a meal? Maybe the only true progressive is one who eats nothing but salt. I'm not even sure about pica -tarians, because you'd be killing bacteria in the dirt that you eat.

Jorge, you should step off your moral high horse for a bit and broaden your view to step out of this animal-centric box.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 7:50 am

Greg,

When did we say that plants were less important?

The issue, the core, of what we are talking about, is living life in a way that does as little damage to the planet as possible.

Do we have to eat animals to survive?

No.

Do we need to eat plants to survive?

Yes.

But we should eat the plants that we need to survive with just as much consciousness. Organic, biodynamic, fair trade, permaculture, concern for the entire life cycle and renewal of soil, etc. And care, as you say, for the plants themselves.

And when we eat plants as our main food source instead of animals we -dramatically- reduce our impact on the planet. This is crucial, and undeniable.

Finally, another very important aspect of veganism is reducing violence between -people- as well as violence to the world itself. The decision to kill and eat animals is a very violent one. Once one stops eating animals, it puts one in a clear mental landscape where one is no longer choosing violence as a way of living. And that triggers us to evolve to approach other people and also the whole living world, with profoundly less violence in our minds and actions.

And that mental shift is crucial to calming ourselves down in order to end war, and to save the biosphere by dramatically reducing our violent posture toward it.

The key is to think of your impact on the planet as a continuum or spectrum.

On one end is violent carnivorousness and uncaring destruction, on the other, total avoidance of all unnecessary killing and destroying of life, and the Earth.

The objective of each person in our age should not be to attempt change that is impossible for them, but simply to begin taking steps toward the nonviolent end of that spectrum, and do your best to move closer to it over time.

If everyone one does that, to the best of their ability, the planet can be saved.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 9:40 am

Killing plants is violent too -you are killing something after all. To say that killing plants is not violent and killing animals is, is more species-ism.

As far as what's the best diet, that's a whole different can of worms. Vegetarianism is a religion, so I think it would be fruitless to argue that people were meant to be omnivores and that a balanced omnivore diet is the healthiest. That's what I believe, that's what most dieticians believe, but I know I'll never convince you of that, so why try? All I ask is that you don't preach to me like I don't preach to you.

The environmental angle is more convincing, IMO, than the "don't kill beautiful animals" angle. But still, I think population control is the most effective way of achieving those environmental aims. I know you dispute that, but your dispute mainly centers on the assertion that the rate of consumption of top-of-the-chain predators is growing faster than population. That's a pretty obscure statistic -I'd be interested to know where it comes from. But it's still a bit of a non-sequitur, because the key is *how much* faster.

But anyway... we're really getting into thread drift. The original thread was about AB 376. And most of the proponents are against shark finning either because they are misinformed that most shark fin soup is made out of endangered sharks, or because they believe that it's needlessly cruel (which I agree with), or both. I think that if most folks knew that AB 376 was just the first step toward a radical vegan agenda, support would drop off precipitously.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

Now you're just spiraling into complete nonsense.

If you were actually reading what I wrote you wouldn't have replied as you did.

The theme of what I posted is clearly minimizing personal impact, not the cartoonish pronouncements and supposed 'vegetarian religion' that you have falsely placed in my mouth.

And it is patently obvious to any grade school child that killing and eating a pig or chicken is -far- more violent than eating a carrot.

Give me a frigging break man.

You are being totally defensive and embarrassingly lashing out very foolishly about matters on which you clearly haven't the slightest frigging clue, in order to lay guilt on others instead of examining your self.

For example, on population and planetary destruction...

Lifestyle impacts are massively more important than population. There is a good UK Guardian article about this at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/15/consumption-versus-pop...

You need to cool out, stop heavily disrespecting others out of ignorance, and actually have the humility to admit that you may need to take a closer look at how you live your life.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

They're comparing the impact of extra people in developing countries to extra consumption per person in developed countries.

I'm saying that someone having 5 kids in *America* (and perhaps a couple of carnivorous pets like dogs or cats) is having way more impact on the environment than someone in *America* who has no kids and no pets. Even if the latter eats shark fin soup.

And yes, it's also true that no matter how holy you try to be with your vegetarianism, your carbon footprint is still way bigger than that of someone in the developing world, so what gives you the right to point fingers?

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

No. Population is only increasing in the U.S. because of immigration. In other western countries populations are actually declining. People having babies in western countries (or anywhere else) is simply not the problem. It is western lifestyles, and the extent to which they are both worsening in impact and being adopted by people in countries like China and India, which is the problem. That's the point of the article, which actually makes this clear by pointing out that the places still experiencing high population growth, are not the places adopting damaging western lifestyles. So while our populations in the west are not increasing that much, our impact, energy use, pollution and carbon emissions are increasing like mad.

Your second point is nothing but an irrelevant ducking of the issue. The fact that my western vegetarian life is more impactful than that of a person living in Bangladesh has nothing to do with the fact that if everyone ate lower on the food chain it would have a massive positive impact on the survival of the planetary ecosystem.

Including you.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

Predictably, you responded as I thought you would. I've heard all of that countless times from those who try to justify and defend their own behavior of eating dead animals, when it's not necessary.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

And I never argue religion. Vegetarianism is a religion, and asking you to broaden your perspective about your religion is like banging my head against the wall. That's why I'd rather argue AB 376 on the merits as presented.

I understand that you'll always be for more regulation of meat no matter what, because the ultimate goal is conversion of the population to vegetarianism. You can't argue that the amendment is a reasonable way to advance the goal of 376, if the person you're debating with wants to go far, far beyond that goal to begin with, and nothing you say will ever change their mind, because they are Vegetarian true believers.

What you have to understand, though, is that I don't share your religion. So if you want to convince me about AB 376, you'll have to present your argument on the terms that most people understand -stuff like animal cruelty and endangered species protection. You know... the realm of reason and not religion.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

I've not been trying to convince you of anything. I have been expressing my opinion. I'm not here to argue with people. It's not something I get off on. If you think being a vegetarian is a religion, go ahead and think that. I suppose it is for some people, but to me it's not a religion any more than my choice of taking Muni instead of driving a big SUV around The City, or recycling and composting instead of throwing it all in the black bin, as two examples.

Over the years, I've received the most sanctimonious spews consistently from those who eat dead animals, even family members that I've known for many years. They still look at me as if I'm completely nuts for not eating as they do and not having dead animal on my plate with blood running around it. I would assert that the religion is eating dead animal. Every one I know who eats dead animal, MUST have dead animal (some form of it) for every meal. They don't consider themselves having a meal without "meat." Then you have the ritual of the bloat-fest called Thanksgiving which MUST have the dead animal called turkey. The Christmas day's bloatfest MUST have ham. It's a religious ritual when people MUST have certain "meats" on certain days and can't conceive of a meal without the dead animal on the plate.

Frankly, I don't think about being a vegetarian. It comes very naturally to me because aside from the animal killing aspect, I've always been turned off by the texture and grissels in "meat" and the blood factor and the bones. So when I began cooking for myself, I didn't want to deal with all that gross stuff so I would have pasta instead, for example. And I naturally evolved into a vegetarian.

There's really no more to say about it.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Greg,

You are now fully off base, totally full of crap, and being incredibly disrespectful.

Vegetarianism is a way of changing ones eating habits, for either environmental and/or ethical reasons.

There is no intrinsic worship of any deity, iconography, or pursuit of spirituality in the act of living a life without eating animals for food, and I guarantee you, you have just seriously pissed off every vegetarian reading this thread.

I personally am a strict secularist and purposely shun religion of all kinds.

Vegetarians are people who actually have the courage, presence of mind, and personal integrity to take control of their own impact on the planet and other animals.

I was willing to tolerate your bullshit attitude until you played the religion card. Now I will not.

You are a gutless coward who is rationalizing vegetarianism as airy fairy so you don't have to be inconvenienced by questioning your own glutinous, thoughtless, environmentally destructive lifestyle.

You need a reality check.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

The diehard socialist who enjoys a Big Mac fights the hopeless Green who lives off nuts and berries.

Welcome to San Francisco. But I've had worse days.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

Glad we could amuse.

A life without conflict, is worthless.

Greg and I agree on many things.

But when someone pisses me off, I'm going to say so without reservation, no matter who they are.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

Actually, I'd rather go hungry than eat the garbage at McDonalds. And I'm not that big on red meat. Now a nice bowl of shark fin soup, on the other hand, or perhaps a filet of endangered Chilean sea bass...

;-)

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

Guest, I'm talking about California, not the rest of the world. Generally, shark fin soup is mainly a Chinese cultural dish. What's the percentage of Chinese people in California? 3%? The other 97% don't eat shark fin soup, which is why in grocery stores you generally only see shark filets, not shark fins. So if we're talking about importation into California (and the US as a whole, where there are even fewer Chinese), intact sharks should be more than adequate to feed the demand for shark fin soup in here. That's because in *California*, sharks are mainly consumed for their meat, not their fins. And it is California that we're talking about with regards to this California Assembly bill, right?

Will the amended bill stop finning in other countries? Of course not! And you know what? Neither will the original bill. Neither will ANY bill that the California legislature can come up with. And guys, do you know WHY that is the case? Well, let me give you a hint. Guess where a bill from the California legislature has jurisdictional authority. If you said "California," ding ding ding -you get the prize for the day. Yes kids, that's right, AB 376 would not have the force of law in China. Who knew???

As far as the issue of all sharks needing to be taken off the menu, well that's certainly one opinion. I don't know if that's really a global mainstream opinion in the scientific community, though. There are a lot of keystone predators that can be sustainably caught. As long as we're not fishing them to the point where they're endangered, they should be in fine form with their keystone predator-ness. And with 9 out of 10 species that are used in shark fin soup, it is in fact the case that they're not endangered. But I'll give you points for consistency, Erik. If you really believe that we shouldn't eat any shark at all, endangered or not, then a bludgeon approach would make sense. I just disagree with the notion that species which are not endangered still should not be killed for food. And so do most people.

Bottom line: I think we all agree that finning is bad.

If the goal is to stop finning in California, then the amended AB376 should be more than adequate.

If you want to stop finning globally, you might want to take it up with the Chinese politburo. That would seem like a better place to start than the California legislature for such a lofty goal.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

Greg, you just don't get it, trust me.

Ask oceanographers to tell you about the state of the oceans. Ask them to be -completely- honest.

They will tell you that the oceans and nearly all of their inhabitants are in deep jeopardy and may very well not survive.

Many of them will likely cry.

you

do

not

understand

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

If you're looking to stop finning in California, then the Amended AB 376 is fully adequate.

If you're looking to stop finning globally, then you're barking up the wrong tree to begin with.

If you're looking to ban the eating of all sharks, then you really have your work cut out for you.

Sounds like your real agenda here is to ban the consumption of all large marine creatures because it's bad for the earth. Sorry, I don't think most people will be down with that.

The oceans collapsing certainly is a real issue though. People should eat fewer animals. Or alternatively, there should be fewer people eating those animals. Either solution would work, but I'm not sure how you can practically impose either one, or what gives you the right to impose it at all.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

Greg, this isn't just about stopping finning in California, it is about California enacting a real ban and setting an example for the rest of the world.

This is very similar to the Israel boycott situation.

The more new countries join in, the more other countries will be likely to change their ways as well.

And can you please get out of debate mode and pay attention to the fact that I and other other environmentalists are increasingly very agitatedly sounding the alarm that the planet is in BIG trouble and people need to drastically change or civilization will collapse - possibly in our own LIFETIMES.

It doesn't make a goddamned bit of difference who is 'down' with it or who has the right to impose what, ok?

If we don't change now, it is GAME OVER for all of us.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 03, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

How are you going to save the oceans if you can't convince others of your position?

I'm pretty environmental. I agree that climate change is happening. I agree that the oceans are in trouble. And yet, you can't even convince me. How are you going to convince the Chinese politburo?

Specifically,
-I don't agree that California passing a law to ban shark consumption is going to do squat to convince other cultures not to eat shark fin soup when it's such a deeply held cultural tradition.
-I don't agree with your broad scope position that we shouldn't eat big predators at all. I don't think it's necessary, or practical to implement anytime soon.
-I agree that people eating *fewer* such animals is probably a good idea, but you can do it your way, and I'll do my part in my way. I won't impose my way on you, and you don't impose your way on me, k?

But thanks for clarifying what this is really all about. AB 376 never made much sense to me in terms of the arguments that the proponents actually *presented*, and that's what this article is about. The only way it makes any sense at all, particularly the original version, is if you broaden the view. You have to take it to its logical conclusion, that this is more than about endangered species, more than about animal cruelty. The only way it makes sense is that it's a baby step on the way to banning consumption for everyone of all large predators (or perhaps all meat?) in the name of saving the earth/oceans/environment.

Of course the problem you run into is that when the full agenda becomes known, you'll probably lose even most of those who supported AB 376.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 04, 2011 @ 12:01 am

The Chinese state is trying to stop the loss of freshwater porpoise, so there might be some hope there, an actual pretty awesome animal. Not to hard it seems but taking a stab at it.

I have no idea what shark fin soup involves to cook, but I've been seeing the same cans in the same place in one of the Chinatown stores I go to. Now with extra arsenic and mercury. Maybe its usually home made in Chinatown? I don't know, but it seems to be in the USA, from the news I've come across, its an "I eat it because I can" thing.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 05, 2011 @ 12:08 pm