On Monday, the California State Assembly voted to pass AB-376, a proposed ban on the sale and import of shark's fin. The ban, which has been publicly condemned by state senator Leland Yee and SF mayor Ed Lee, is intended to prevent the practice of shark finning, which is decimating shark populations around the globe. (I wrote about the bill in March.) AB-376 was introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Fong (D.-Mountainview) and Jared Huffman (D.-San Rafael). Yesterday, I spoke to Assemblymember Fong about the bill.
SFoodie: Assemblymember Fong, congratulations on getting the bill passed. Given the fact that there are already federal laws banning the practice of shark finning, what led you to introduce a state bill banning all shark fin sales?
Fong: The federal law has been toothless. It hasn't been effective in curtailing the market for shark fin. So we had to cut off the demand.
You were able to pass AB-376 with a vote of 60 to 8. How much work did it take to secure the backing of other assemblymembers?
It wasn't that difficult, actually. The [assemblymembers] have received tens of thousands of support letters from voters. That was key — the overwhelming amount of people in California support the shark fin ban.