Tag Archives: environmental

One Step Closer to Victory

6 Sep

Copyright Rob Allen

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 65 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. Once signed into law, California will follow Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon, where similar legislation has previously passed.

Assembly Members Paul Fong and Jared Huffman introduced the bill earlier this year, which has been championed by a coalition including WildAid, Oceana, the Humane Society of the United States, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and backed by community leaders and Hollywood heavyweights.

Though polling suggested that 70% of Chinese-American voters in California support the bill, San Francisco mayoral candidate Senator Leland Yee led the opposition, working with high-priced lobbying firms to try to water down the bill with amendments and/or exclusions.

Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid, testified several times before the state legislature, as did actress Bo Derek, an advocate and WildAid board member.

“Sharks have been around for nearly 400 million years, and could be wiped out in a single human generation due to an increasing demand for their fins,” said Knights. ”Fisheries regulation on the ground has utterly failed to reduce overfishing — market approaches like this are crucial.”

Fins from up to 73 million sharks per year are used to make shark fin soup, a vastly popular Asian delicacy. Captured at sea and hauled on deck, the sharks are often still alive while their fins are sliced off. Because shark meat is not considered as valuable as shark fin, the maimed animals are tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death. The process is called shark finning, a wasteful and cruel practice still legal in much of the world.

What is Shark Finning? (infographic)

5 Sep
WildAid and Kiki Karpus teamed up to create this infographic to explain the process of shark finning, the business of the trade, and why we should care.

Calling All Shark-Lovers

30 Aug

Assembly Bill 376, which bans the trade of shark fins, will soon face a critical vote in the California State Senate, and it needs your help.  For the sake of the tens of millions of sharks that are slaughtered every year to make shark fin soup.  For the sake of the millions of people worldwide who rely upon the health of our oceans. Here’s how you can help:

If you live in California:

1) Using this handy tool, enter your zip code, and find out who your state senator is.

2) Dial his/her phone number.

3) Whether someone answers or its a voicemail, tell them your name, your zip code, and that you support Assembly Bill 376 without amendments.

4) Sign our Shark Pledge, which calls upon global leaders to act now to protect our sharks and preserve the health of our oceans.

5) Share this with your family and friends. Use Twitter, Facebook, or whatever platform you have, to spread the word.

If you live elsewhere in the world:

1) Sign our Shark Pledge, which calls upon global leaders to act now to protect our sharks and preserve the health of our oceans.

2) Share this with your family and friends in California. Use TwitterFacebook, or whatever platform you have, to spread the word.

A third of open-ocean shark species are already threatened with extinction.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.

CA Shark Fin Ban Leaps Over Major Hurdle

26 Aug

On Thursday, 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.

Shark fin is the main ingredient in the Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup, which can fetch up to $100 USD a bowl.  Every year, fins from up to 73 million sharks are used for shark fin soup.  The practice, known as finning, is a gruesome processes by which the fins are sliced off (often while the animal is still alive), and then the shark is tossed back into the ocean to drown or bleed to death.  Consequently, more than half of open-ocean sharks are threatened with extinction.  Since sharks are apex predators, their removal would lead to disastrous consequences throughout the entire marine ecosystem.

If AB376 is passed, California would join Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii where similar legislation has been passed.

73 Million Sharks Need Your Help

13 Aug


*UPDATE* On Thursday, August 25th, California’s Senate Appropriations committee votes on Assembly Bill 376, a bill that would effectively ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins in the state.  California controls an estimated 85 percent of the shark fin trade in the U.S., so this legislation is critical. If passed, California would become the most prominent US state to show its support for shark conservation, after similar legislation passed in Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon.

AB 376 already passed the State Assembly by a vote of 65-8, with bipartisan support. But now its fate lies in the Senate.

“Finning” is the process by which sharks are hauled on deck, their fins are sliced off, and the maimed sharks are usually tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death since shark fins are considered much more valuable than shark meat. Every year fins from up to 73 million sharks are used for shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that can fetch up to $100 USD per bowl. Currently, an estimated 1/3 of pelagic (open ocean) shark species are threatened with extinction.  As sharks play a vital role in the oceans, their depletion would cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems.

More than a dozen organizations support the ban including The Asian Pacific American (APA) Ocean Harmony Alliance, WildAid, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

What can you do to lend your support?

If You Live in California:

Use this tool to find your state Senator. Call him or her TODAY to say, “I am a constituent and urge your support of A.B. 376 to prohibit the sale of shark fins in California.”  Your call will make a difference.

If You Live Elsewhere:

We still need your support.  Commit to shark conservation by signing our Global Shark Pledge.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates or sign up for our e-mail newsletter.

Whale Shark Swallows Boat Whole…

25 Jul

…not really.

Though this image was not doctored in any way, everyone on the boat is safe and sound.  This photo was taken on a recent trip to Mexico, where WildAid‘s Executive Director, Peter Knights, and a handful of supporters including Sir Richard Branson, swam with hundreds of whale sharks.  Although the whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea (measuring up to 40 ft long), their diet consists mostly of tiny plankton and pose no real threat to humans, who travel from around the world to swim with these gentle giants.

The real threat is to the whale sharks, which are being killed for their fins at an alarming rate.  Fins from an estimated 73 million sharks per year are used to make shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that can fetch up to $100 USD per bowl.  Since shark fins are considered much more valuable than shark meat, sharks are usually hauled on deck, their fins are sliced off, and the maimed sharks are tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death.  Currently, an estimated 1/3 of pelagic shark species are threatened with extinction.  A recent study by Science examines the negative consequences of removing apex predators, such as sharks, from their ecosystems.

WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.  We produce public service announcements featuring some of the biggest international stars such as Yao Ming, Harrison Ford, and Jackie Chan.  With help from our media partners and pro bono placements, our message reaches a combined audience of one billion people per week.