The hot topic of whether to ban the sale or possession of shark fins in California is now a question for Governor Jerry Brown.
This issue is splitting the Asian-American community, where shark fin soup is a tradition. The bill’s author is Asian, but so is one of its leading critics, Democratic Senator Leland Yee, who says, “if you happen to be a fisherman, you catch a shark, you can have the fin. But if you happen to be Chinese-American and you’re not the fisherman, well, you can’t have the shark fin.”
The ban’s supporters insist it’s not discriminatory and will help sharks avoid extinction. Besides, says Republican Senator Tony Strickland, shark finning is a “barbaric act.”
“By cutting these fins, all you’re doing is torturing the shark and making the shark drown,” said Strickland. “And that’s a practice that we should not approve here in the state of California.”
The shark fin ban passed by a wide margin and now goes straight to the governor. A companion measure that would exempt fishermen from the ban passed too. It faces a final vote in the Assembly later this week.