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Celebrities out in force for shark fin ban

By Dave Collier - 26 Sep 2011 17:32:0 GMT
Celebrities out in force for shark fin ban

The creation of shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, involves capturing a shark and removing its pectoral or dorsal fin. The creatures are often then returned to the sea where they usually bleed to death or drown.

This practise is due to the fact that while the fin is highly valuable the meat of the shark is considerably less so. With the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reporting that an estimated 1/3 of species may be at risk of extinction, many are calling for a ban.

A California Assembly Bill (AB 376) deals with this matter. It will ban all trade and import of shark fin in California. It is only lacking Governor Jerry Brown's signature before it can be made law.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Ming and Edward Norton are some of the big names supporting this bill. They have urged the Governor to sign it and bring the ban into force.

It is not only California working for this goal. Around the world WildAid, an organisation dedicated to the destruction of the illegal trade in wild animals, has been working with world-class chefs to ensure that their restaurants will never list shark fin soup on their menus.

Chef Gordon Ramsey, one of those working with the organisation, has made it a personal mission to publicise the brutal nature of the industry, even risking his personal safety to investigate illegal trafficking.

WildAid also brought together Sir Richard Branson, Zhang Yue and Yao Ming for an event intended to highlight their work, calling for the end of 'shark finning', protection of shark species and an increased awareness of the issues involved in the creation of this dish.

WildAid, and the celebrities they have been working with, may not have too many problems convincing the public to support their aims.

A survey carried out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium suggested that, in California, 76% of voters support AB376. Perhaps surprisingly Chinese-American voter support is not far behind with 70% supporting the bill.

Top Image: Jerry Brown's official picture as Attorney General and as Governor; State of California

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Topics: Shark Finning / Sharks