My support letter for the proposed bill of the Washington State banning shark-fin trade

To:    Members of the Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee:
Senator Kevin Ranker
Senator Debbie Regala
Senator Bob Morton
Senator Jim Hargrove
Senator Val Stevens
Senator Dan Swecker

Curt Gavigan, staff member of the Committee
Iris Ho, Humane Society

February 12, 2011

Dear Honorable Senators,

I Support SB 5688

Thank you for introducing Senate Bill 5688, banning the sale and possession of shark fins in the Washington State.

My name is Yui-Wah (Clement) Lee 李銳華.  I am a Chinese descendant.  I live in New Jersey now, but I grew up in Hong Kong and speak Chinese as my mother tongue.  I would like to testify that shark fin soup, while still commonly served in some formal banquets, does NOT necessarily equate to the Chinese culture and tradition.  In China, we also respect life and nature.  The un-sustainability of shark fisheries and the cruel practice of shark finning are at odds with our traditional values.

In Hong Kong, the public are getting more and more aware of the ugly truth behind shark fin soup.   In March 2010 I started a local campaign ( 魚翅婚宴。人情七折 ) in Hong Kong encouraging wedding banquet goers to cut, by 30%,  their “gift money” for the banquet hosts if shark fin soup is served in the banquet that they are attending[1],[2].  The campaign has received overwhelming support and within a month about 20,000 people supported the idea.  This shows that there is a very strong sentiment against shark fin soup – even in Hong Kong the world center of shark fin trade.

I hope SB 5688 will be passed with no weakening amendments.   Thank you so much for taking the lead in protecting the oceans.

Sincerely yours,

Yui-Wah (Clement) Lee 李銳華
“Cut Gift Money for Shark Fin Banquets” 魚翅婚宴。人情七折

[1] The Standard (Hong Kong) Apr 7, 2010 “Shark’s fin campaign hits newlyweds where it hurts”

[2] CNN Go (Asia) Apr 7, 2010 “Very hot Facebook group: ‘Cut gift money for shark fin banquets'”

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