Target: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham
Goal: Praise recent seizure of over 2,000 pounds of shark fins by the California Department of Wildlife
Over 2,000 pounds of illegally harvested shark fins were recently seized from a vendor in San Francisco, during an investigation by the California Department of Wildlife.
It is illegal to sell or possess shark fins in California, under a law that was passed in 2011 and came into full effect last July. Violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Most citations given to California residents have been due to possessing small quantities of shark fins, and this recent seizure is the first bust of this magnitude since the law came into effect.
Michael Kwong of Kwong Yip, Inc. was cited for violation of the ban and will soon face a judge to receive sentence. Kwong is part of a group of Chinese Americans who have opposed the law, saying it unfairly targets those of Chinese descent. Shark fin soup is a traditional, celebratory Chinese dish.
Shark finning is a major threat to shark populations around the world and accounts for the deaths of up to 73 million sharks a year, according to conservation groups. The sharks are caught and de-finned, then thrown back into the ocean. The loss of their fins makes the shark unable to swim, and it either sinks to the bottom and suffocates or becomes an easy target for other predators.
California’s law, and similar laws in other states, are a huge step towards stopping this inhumane practice that threatens shark populations around the world. Their continued enforcement and the prosecution of violators like Kwong will help discourage the consumption of shark fin soup in this country.
Sign this petition of applaud the California Department of Wildlife for its continued efforts to enforce badly needed animal conservation laws.
Dear California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham,
Your department’s recent seizure of a large quantity of shark fins from a San Francisco vendor is an important step in the continued fight against the inhumane and wasteful process of shark finning. Bans on the sale and possession of shark fins like the one in your state are vital to help protect shark populations, and an effective ban requires effective enforcement.
I am writing today to thank you and your department for your efforts in protecting wildlife populations, and to encourage you to keep the pressure on those who would flout these vital conservation laws.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NOAA via Wikimedia Commons