Will New York Ban Shark's Fin Soup?

February 24, 2012 1:17 AM EST
shark's fin
shark's fin (Photo: flickr/ Xin Li 88)

New York, the biggest market for shark’s fin on the east coast, is likely to be the next state to ban the sale of shark fins. New York state lawmakers unveiled a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale, trade and the Chinese delicacy. If the proposal legislation is signed into law, New York will join Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and California in restricting shark products.

The potential ban is causing a stir among Chinese Americans due to a popular broth created by the fin to serve a traditional delicacy in Chinese culture. Chinatown restaurants are disappointed with the news of the possible new law. However, others say it won’t effect their business very much. Many Chinatown restaurants have been already developing various substitutes for shark fin soup, using other kinds of fish and tofu.

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The process of shark finning has been considered inhumane and environmentally unsound from many animal groups and conservationists. The sharks are pulled on board to have their fins cut off and thrown into the water alive. Most science communities claim that 73 million sharks are slaughtered in this way annually. In reaction to the announcement, senior vice president of Oceana Dr. Michael Hirshfield said, "Oceans without sharks mean trouble for everyone who depends on oceans for food, jobs and enjoyment."

Several other states currently have bills that may ban the sale of shark fins including Florida, Maryland and Virginia.


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