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A bill which would make it illegal to "possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin" is being opposed by California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who is running for mayor of San Francisco.  Every year, an estimated 70-100 million sharks are killed, mostly for their fins, to make shark fin soup.  That means approximately 250,000 sharks are killed everyday.  The vast majority of sharks are finned on the ship, and then tossed overboard to drown.  A pound of shark fins can then be sold for up to $500, making this a multi-billion dollar industry.  90% of the world's sharks have been decimated, in large part to this cruel and unsustainable trade.  California is the largest importer and consumer of shark fin products outside of Asia. 

As a vocal opponent of a ban on shark fins in California, Mr. Yee publicly declared his opposition to AB 376 and united behind organized opposition to a shark fin ban, stating that it limited Chinese culture and would unfairly outlaw fins from shark species whose status is not endangered.  However, the rate of shark fin consumption is unsustainable, and it would be difficult to monitor all fishermen activity.  The federal ban on shark finning off of US waters is not enough, we must close markets in California to reduce all sharks from being killed abroad.  Let's promote truly sustainable consumption habits, and set a precedent for other countries such as China, to committ to a shark fin ban.

We call on Leland Yee, ALL San Francisco candidates for mayor, and members of the California legislature to support a ban on shark fins (and commit to enforcing it if passed). While candidates such as Leland Yee should be applauded for his history of defending ethnic communities, a ban on shark fins is not an attack on Chinese culture.  It is in our collective interest to protect the top predators in our oceans, by ending this unsustainable tradition which could result in the extinction of shark species around the world and a collapse of our ecosystem.  Without sharks, we have an overabundance of smaller fish such as sardines, which leads to a shortage of plankton in our ocean and major implications for our planet's supply of oxygen and climate change!  In addition, research has shown that shark fins have high mercury content, which could lead to cancer and other health problems.

We must change our habits and save our sharks before it's too late.  If we continue eating sharks at this rate, they will be gone forever.  Tell Leland Yee and our elected officials to protect our sharks!  

Please share with us your comments especially if you are a San Francisco or California resident, or Chinese American! 

Mayoral candidates who have written statements in support of the ban:  David Chiu, Phil Ting, Bevan Dufty, John Avalos, Joanna Rees

Photo:  John Upton / The Bay Citizen

Letter to
Leland Yee for Mayor Leland Yee
California State House
California State Senate
I'm writing today to ask for your support of CA Assembly Bill 376, the statewide shark fin ban in California.

As you may know already, the global shark fin trade has threatened the extinction of sharks worldwide and by some estimates, have decimated global shark populations by 90%.

The sale of shark fins, used for soup, is a multi-billion dollar industry. In San Francisco Chinatown, a pound of shark fin could sell for up to $500.

There is no such thing as the sustainable harvesting of shark fin. There is no way to track the chain of custody of sharks without enormous costs and without inviting laundering and fraud. Such schemes have been tried and failed disastrously to protect species. The opposition cannot offer a chain of custody program to accurately track fins and show it it would be enforced and deal with illegally imported fins in the market.

We must support sustainable fishing practices and save our oceans for future generations - and ourselves. A small sacrifice for shark fins would save millions of sharks and restore harmony in our oceanic ecosystem.

Let's set a precedent for a shark fin ban around the world, including China, before it's too late. Though shark fin soup has been served for hundreds of years, more and more Chinese people are no longer seeing it as a necessity. Will you join the call for a ban of shark fins?

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope to hear of your support of the ban on shark fins.

P.S. An alliance of Asian Pacific American civic leaders and organizations, support the statewide ban on shark fins. Members of the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance include:

APA Organizations
• Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)
• Asian Law Alliance
• Asian Pacific Islanders California Action Network
• Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the CA Democratic Party
• Pan Asian Consortium In Employment (PACE)

• Dan Kuramoto, Founder, Hiroshima*
• Lisa Ling, Journalist
• Chef Charles Phan, The Slanted Door
• Chef Martin Yan
• Belle Yang, Author/Artist

Elected Officials (By Alpha)
• Hon. Nancy Bui, SMUD Board*
• Hon. Sue Chan, Fremont City Council*
• Dr. Michael Chang, Vice Pres., Santa Clara Co. Bd. of Ed.*
• Hon. David Chiu, Pres. San Francisco Bd. Of Supervisors*
• Hon. Darrell Fong, Sacramento City Council*
• Hon. Ashu Kalra, San Jose City Council*
• Hon. Otto Lee, Sunnyvale City Council*
• Hon. David Lim, San Mateo City Council*
• Hon. Henry Lo, Garvey School Board*
• Hon. Evan Low, Campbell City Council*
• Hon. Steve Ngo, San Francisco Community College Trustee*
• Hon. Phil Ting, San Francisco Assessor*
• Hon. Betty Yee, State Board of Equalization*

Community Leaders
• Dennis Arguelles, Exec. Dir., SIPA*
• Tami Bui, CA API Commissioner*
• Elaine Chiao, Fmr. Pres., APSEA*
• Sue Chen, CEO Nova Medical Products*
• Deborah Ching
• Ricky Choi, Bd. Mbr. TRUE PAC*
• Henry Der, Fmr. CA State Dep. Supt. Of Public Inst.*
• Prof. Bill Ong Hing, USF School of Law*
• Iris Ho, Humane Society
• Dennis Huang, Exec. Dir., Asian Business Assn.*
• Georgette Imura, Fmr. Pres. APYLP*
• Mariko Kahn, Exec. Dir. PACS*
• Keith Kamasugi, Bd. Member CAA*
• Walter Kawamoto
• Judy Ki, Ret. CA Public School Teacher
• Alissa Ko, Fmr. Pres. CA Young Dems*
• Annie Lam, Bd. Mbr. TRUE PAC*
• James T. Lau, Fmr. Exec. Dir. CLCV Education Fund*
• Eunsook Lee, Fmr. Exec. Dir., NAKASEC*
• Tam Ma, Fmr. Pres. My Sister’s House*
• Prof. Wayne Mayeda, Asian American Studies at CSUS*
• Dale Minami, APA Civil Rights Attorney
• Lindsey Nitta, Pres. Sacramento Young Democrats*
• Paul Osaki, Exec. Dir., JCCCNC*
• Steve Owyang, APA Civil Rights Attorney
• David Ryu
• Sylvia Tang, Bd. Mbr. TRUE PAC*
• Diane Ujiiye, Fmr. CA API Commissioner*
• Elaine Yamaguchi