Both chambers of the state Legislature have passed a bill that would protect sharks from shark fin trading. Animal welfare and environmental organizations are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
New York is one of the largest markets for shark fin trading, the State Shark Advocacy & Awareness Campaign said. Shark fins are used to make shark fin soup. The group said the law would protect sharks and oceans. The Assembly passed the legislation Monday; the Senate passed it last week.
“Shark fin soup is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status,” a press release from the advocacy group said. “It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark fin trade.”
Legislation to preserve oceans and protect sharks was recently passed in Delaware and waiting for the governor’s signature. The shark advocacy group said California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Washington have similar laws in place.
The group said fins from about 73 million sharks are used to make soup each year. President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act in 2011 to strengthen laws against shark fin trading.
Animal and conservation groups said a shark fin trading ban in the U.S. is not sufficient to protect sharks and keep them off the endangered species list. The groups are calling for a ban on shark fin products to eliminate the threat of endangering sharks.
“The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested outside of the U.S. and the precarious status of many shark populations,” the group said in a release.
(Associated Press photo: A worker collects pieces of shark fins dried on the rooftop of a factory building in Hong Kong Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. For centuries, shark fin, usually served as soup, has been a coveted delicacy in Chinese cooking, extolled for its supposed ability to boost sexual potency, enhance skin quality, increase one’s energy, prevent heart diseases and lower cholesterol.)