To Senator Yee: The proposed ban on shark-fin soup has nothing to do with race


The proposed ban on shark fin soup in California (AB376) is NOT an attack of Chinese culture. As we can see below, many Chinese have been advocating against the consumption of shark fin soup.


姚明,NBA 籃球明星。
YAO Ming, NBA Athlete.
Ang LEE, movie director.
GUO Jingjing, Olympic Gold Medalist, Diving
Stefanie Sun, singer
徐立之,香港大學校長。香港大學自 2005 年起宣佈大學宴會不吃魚翅。
Professor Lap-Chee TSUI, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Since 2005, HKU has banned shark fin soup from all official banquets of the university.
余若薇,香港立法會議議員。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Audrey EU, Legislative Councillor of Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
葉劉淑儀,香港立法會議議員。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Regina IP, Legislative Councillor of Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
陳淑莊,香港立法會議議員。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Tanya Chan, Legislative Councillor of Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
Alfred CHEUNG, a famous movie director from Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
林一峰,香港著名歌星。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Chet LAM, a famous singer in Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
潘小濤,著名電台節目主持人。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Siu-to POON, a famous radio host in Hong Kong. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
莫乃光,公共專業聯盟副主席。2010 年,香港各界人士呼籲香港政府公務宴會禁用魚翅。
Charles Peter MOK, Vice-chairman of Professional Commons. In 2010, there was a petition by members of the public asking Hong Kong Government to stop serving shark fin soup in all government banquets.
DING Liguo, Delegate, National People’s Congress, China, proposed that the country’s top legislature should ban the trade of shark fin.
Jim ZHANG, The Nature Conservancy. See this.
陳小春與應采兒,歌星及演員。2010 年 11 月的婚宴上不以魚翅宴客(報導),並明確表示是為了支持鯊魚保育。Jordon CHAN and Cherrie YING, actor, singer, and actress. They announced that they took shark fin soup off their wedding banquets in Nov 2011 in Hong Kong to support the conservation of sharks. (Report)
楊千嬅,歌星及演員。支持世界自然基金會香港分會「無翅宴會菜單選擇行動」。在 2010 年底的婚宴上也把魚翅剔除在菜單之外(新聞稿)。 Miriam YEUNG, actress and singer. Supports “Alternative Shark-free Menu Programme” of WWF-HK. Her wedding banquet in late 2010 also did not serve shark fin soup (Press).
Sharon Kwok, Artist. Worked really hard to support the legislative effort of shark fin ban in California (See this report).
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23 Responses to To Senator Yee: The proposed ban on shark-fin soup has nothing to do with race

  1. MK says:

    Tell Leland Yee and candidates for Mayor of San Francisco to support the BAN on shark fins! Sometimes what we STOP DOING is the best way to help the environment.

  2. Bibibob says:

    Please remember: Legislation of a Shark Fin ban is totally different from running a campaign. There is many complications cause by that. Ab376 Bill has involved a lot politics, lobbyist, interest group and money. We don’t want our noble objective to be diverted for other purpose.

    Let me provide you one of the important fact: US government since “2000 Shark Fining Prohibition Act” took effect, cruelty of shak fining and overfishing in US water has been stopped. 2010 Shark Conservation Act has further closed the loophole of vessel only transport the fins and import from country where shark fining is not under control . Please read the fact from NOAA annual report to Congress at link below:

    Under the strict enforcement and supervision by Congress, Federal government allows normal business and consumption of shark to continue just as like other species, for example, Salmon. For your information, 85% shark fin used in California is domestic harvested in US.

    When the illegal and overfishing is not the issue, blaming eating shark fin soup just like blaming people eating beef. You can promote not to eat shark fin as well as beef, but outlaw them is unjustified.

    Please be careful. AB 376 is a false accusation under a noble name. It will not help a bit to conserve the population of shark, but blame the Asian American for the crime totally has nothing to do with us. The logic of AB376 is just like to blame the citizen work at night is the cause of the night crime in the city.

    Asian American all support the conservation. We are the one being taught to treasure every grain of rice on the table and not to waste any food. The community need more education and conservation campaign, not the brutal ban legislation. Since you guys can change yourself to not eat shark from the non bias information, why you can’t trust other people can do the same, unless you think others are inferior. Think about this please!

    We may have thousands reason not to eat shark, we have to oppose AB376, the Shark Fin Ban legislation because of its double standard, profiling and attack to Chinese community.

    We live in US and call it home. In this issue, no matter you eat shark or not, regardless how hard you try to disassociate yourself from the community, as long you are an Asian face, you can not avoid to be discriminated. So we have to stand up say “NO”.

  3. @ Bibibob –

    Thanks for your insightful comments.

    But I want to add that enforcement of protection of endangered species is very difficult — especially when poaching happens in the enormous high seas. I recommend you watch this video

    Great White are supposedly protected by international regulation thru CITES, but this Taiwanese shark fin trader have fins from more than 1,000 Great White in their refrigerator!

    Ideally we don’t need law for anything — people won’t run red lights and taxpayers will all honestly pay their tax. But we don’t live in an idea world, that is why sometimes we need law and enforcement to maintain some public good.

    I am Chinese, but I don’t see AB376 is against me. It is only against the practice of eating shark fin soup, and as long as I am not doing it, why should I feel offended? On the other hand, I feel offended when people say we should keep eating shark fin soup because it is a Chinese tradition. I think they are hijacking my culture for their own agenda. In Hong Kong, 85% of respondents to a survey said they would support a ban of import of shark fin into Hong Kong. Now, are they racist too — against themselves?

    • Bibibob says:

      As I said, law should target the criminal. For the general public, education is the key solution.

      If your guy can change not to eat shark, why the public can not be trusted. To insist in banning it like this way will only hurt the noble conservation action.

      Think about the Salmon, certain salmons are also endangered in past. Why no one proposed stop to eat Salmon? It because Salmon is the food of the mainstream. However, no ban Salmon is right. we have proofed Salmon can be balanced between the normal consumption and not be overfished.

      From what I have seen, I am telling you there is a lot of dirty politic, lobbyist, interest group and money involved. Who is going to benefit from it? I can certain Asian American is the ultimate victim. AB376 is not that simple like it looks.

  4. Bibibob says:



    但是当我真正查找资料,认证AB376理据时才发现完全被误导.我们不但不该支持,还要坚决反对. 理由如下:

    1. 美国联邦政府早在2000年已在执行Shark Fining Prohibition Act. 该法令其一规定所有捕获的鲨鱼必须整条连鳍上岸,杜绝屠鲨取鳍的残忍行为.其二责承NOAA国家海洋及大气尘管理局每年向国会报告每年各种鲨鱼数量, 是否过度捕捞,合法捕捞配额的使用情况,在保育鲨鱼方面国际上的合作及保育鲨鱼方面的研究及观测.奥巴马总统今年更牵署了 2010 Shark Conservation Act进一步堵塞漏洞及授权制止没有对鲨鱼保护国家的海产品入口. 换句话说,在美国近10年来,联邦政府在国会监督下加强执法,在美国本土已确保鱼翅的合法使用. 空口无凭,请参看联邦报告:

    2.加州已在联邦法令保护下,AB376法案实在是多余,哗众取宠, 名不副实.



    5.如果联邦政府已保证无残杀及过度捕捞的问题, AB376禁止销售和使用鱼翅 旨在分化华人社区为吃者及不吃者 .与保育鲨鱼无关.

  5. ecogear says:

    I am Chinese and I fully support Ab376 as a call to protect animal species.
    Tiger parts are a highly prized item in the “culture” as Senator Yee would define it and yet its banned from international trade for the sole reason of protecting the species.
    Let’s not make the same mistake with sharks and support this call before its too late.

  6. Tony mak says:

    The general public has been commonly misled by paid TV commercial and multi media. The commercial fishing of shark is just like any other type of fishing such as tuna and salmon. It has been well managed and monitored both internationally as well as domestically everywhere in the world. The practice of finning has long been considered as a crime and it is not allowed and punished severely by governments. Nowadays, the production of shark meats and fins are conducted in a kind and human way. I would not say there is no exception, but over 90% production of shark fins are legally produced. Please don,t listen to just one side, but be objective. Our government
    is unbiased. If she allows a substantial amount of commercial shark fishing happened in this country, it tell us the shark fishing is sustainable. Besides, the illegal practice of finning is an issue of law enforcement. Even if there is a small percentage of this crime occurs, we cannot punish the consumers to not allow them to eat what want to eat and not allow those legal businessmen to do their business.

  7. Dear Tony,

    Thanks for your comment. Please review this video (which was taken from Japan) and pay attention to (0:07, 0:32, 2:50) and notice that how they use a payloader to shovel the bodies of sharks after they are finned. Note that the Federal Shark Conservation Act only requires that fins with naturally attached to the shark bodies when the sharks are landed. In other words, what happened in the video, if it happens in the US, is completely legal under Shark Conservation Act. Then ask yourself, is this the way we want to use our natural resources? Can we say this is environmental friendly? Please don’t forget that sharks take many year to become sexually mature and they produce very few young.

    Another important thing to remember is that shark finning prohibition is very hard to enforced. Please see another video on this same thread that I posted a while back ago.

    • TM says:

      The U.S. commercial shark fishery is one of the most highly regulated fisheries in the world. Each commercial shark boat is required to have a limited entry federal permit.There is an annal quota determined by stock assessments evaluated by federal scientists.There are fishing trip limits allowing no more than thirty three shark to be landed at one time. That’s why the selling of their meats is so important to them, because only 33 sets of fins to them is not enough to pay for their expenses. Also, by law the shark meats must be sold for human consumption. The sharks must be landed with their fins attached and sold only to a federally licensed shark dealer who has completed a mandatory species identification course. First receiver shark dealers are also required to report the landing to state and federal agencies. Thanks!

  8. ecogear says:

    Hi Tony, the issue has been confused by the politicians.We are not talking about sharks caught in US waters. Those ones, as long as they are landed with the body, is fine. Its also OK if a fisherman in Florida goes out and accidentally lands a shark.

    What the california bill is about is the importation of fins taken from Asia,Africa and South America. You can check out a recent publication by two photographers based in Hong Kong. They tracked the commercial trade from Africa back to the dining table in Hong Kong and the stories are the same all over. Poor fishermen knowing they can get $10/lb for the fins, slice it off and throw the body back as the meat will fetch less than $1/lb. In a one week trip, they can bring back $10,000 worth of fins only or they can bring in 10 whole sharks worth only $1000 total. I don’t blame the poor fisherman in Africa for finning.

    I do blame the shark fin soup,whether consumed in Thailand or China or California for driving demand up so high that mature sharks are increasingly hard to find, especially in the oceans around China,Hong Kong. Have you seen any big fins lately? No. Most of what you see now are tiny little ones as the fishermen do not care whether its a mature shark or an endangered one.

    I support ab376 for the simple reason that we have seen the effects of removing the top predator from an ecosystem. On land, where wolves have been driven out of some states by farmers, coyotes have moved in and without its natural predator, populations have boomed and they’re more of a threat to farmers now than the wolves ever were.

    Exactly what will happen if shark populations are wiped out, we couldnt say for sure but I wouldn’t want to see the effects.

    • TM says:

      Then the ban should not be an entire ban. It should be just a ban for those of illegal finning of origin. Here in U.S.A. the federal government has managed and monitored commerical shark fishing since 1993. There are seasons and regional quota which limit the amount of commerical harvest. Actually because the quotas has been set so low for the last many years, I have seen a rebound of shark population. It can be proved by less amount of effort of the fisherman to catch their trip limit as well as to fill the quotas. Also the size of the sharks they can catch now is a lot bigger than before. I think our federal government has made this fishery sustainable.

      • ecogear says:

        Good to hear about the population boom! You have any reports we can share? The only ones we’ve found are ones like this.
        US east coast mussel fishermen are hurting because of the boom in seal population. There are fewer sharks now to control the seal numbers.
        Canada has similar problems with its seal population eating way too much cod.Due in big part to the disappearing sharks in its waters.So now they resort to massive kills of seals yearly, up to 400,000. Its what happens when the balance of nature is disturbed. One goes, another one steps right in and in most cases, its not to human favor.

    • TM says:

      I think it is not I got confused, but you may have got confused. Do you know how big the production of U.S. legally allowed production of shark meats and fins. The amount of shark fins production in here is a lot bigger than the domestic consumption in california alone. We actually have surplus to export to Asia. The propose ban of shark fins in california is so unfair because it will also ban the legally produced fins in U.S.A, which is the majority of the present supply in california.

  9. TM says:


    Than you for you video, I particularly paid attention to the payloader. You need to understand that videos only show a specific process of the shark fishing industry. Just like any other fisheries, they go through a sorting system. The video doesn’t show the aftermath of the process. Realistically, shark meat will not be wasted, they try and use resources to its fullest. Most of the time (this video is probably the just the sorting process, separating fins from bodies) the bodies will be sold or transfered to be used as other human consumption for example: fish balls, or as shark steak in fish markets.
    Because the ban is largely focused on sharkfins, many believe that shark are caught solely for the fin, which is incorrect. The rest of the body are useful. I believe that fishermen are trying their best to be most efficient in this business, which is why realistically these natural resources will not be wasted.

    • @TM,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Don’t you think it is a waste to kill these big wild animals (sharks) just to make fish balls? Don’t forget these sharks takes decades to grow to that size and they cannot not maintain their populations under this scale of killing.

      Sharks are killed because of shark fin soup, not because of fish balls. This is just like elephants were killed because of their ivory — until ivory trade was banned in the 90’s. What is your thoughts on the ban of ivory trade? Do you think it was an attack on Chinese culture?

      • TM says:

        A lot of shark species such as blue shark is not endangered. Their population still so huge according to government scientists not your group paid scientists. It is an affordable food item. Do you think we can afford to use tuna or salmon to make fish balls. As a matter of fact both tuna and salmon are more close to endangered than sharks. Why don,t you care about those? Ivory trade is so different to shark fin because ivory can only acquire in area like Africa where corruption and poor law enforcement matters. But shark fishing is worldwide, you have to trust the ability of our governments, the practice of finning cannot be happened in well developed countries. The laws and punishment are so strict and heavy. This is not an Chinese culture issue, it is just human right. If our government aliows the production and sale of shark meat and fins, why the consumers are not able to choose what they can eat.

  10. ecogear says:

    TM, its because of govt scientists that Canada’s cod and salmon populations disappeared.They kept saying it was OK to keep catching until it was too late.It took a few years of heavily restricted catches for those populations to rebound.

    Do not be fooled. Concerned people worldwide are launching a study on shark populations and i can bet you its not good except in areas like Palau,where sharks are protected.

    Humans have a right to food but we don’t have a right to eat an animal or plant into extinction.

    • TM says:

      Then you should convince our government to stop the fishing first. Besides, How come you guys don,t have the gut to propose a a ban on procession , sale and consumption on cod on salmon and tuna. Is that a double standard?

  11. @TM –

    Why distract the issue by tuna? We are talking about sharks. But if this will satisfy you, I would tell you that I happen to maintain another group that is trying to protect tuna. (Please see ). Now can we get back to sharks?

    • @TM – There are many problems in this world, we can only tackle them one by one.

    • TM says:

      No, because this ban is so harsh. this ban was proposed a possession, sale,trade and consumption of shark fins. It will be a criminal if one get caught disobeying the ban. What is the logic when our government continue allow the legal production of shark meat and fins and our consumers will become criminal when they choose to eat legal fins. And why shark meats is not proposed to ban. Then when you catch a shark you need to throw away your fins as waste.

  12. David Lee says:

    We can argue until our face is blue that we should target criminals and not the consumption. However it is a fact of life that as long as there is consumption, illegal activities will continue. Many countries might not even want to ban finning. So in my humble opinion, consumption has to stop.

    There are other issues like tuna, seal hunt, etc. that all deserve attention. But to say we need to ban them all else we don’t ban any is ludicrous. We might as well say we don’t want to take any action. I don’t understand the argument “if we can’t make the world perfect, why make it better”? Look, if generations past took this sage advise we still live in caves. Why pay down the credit card if I can’t discharge the mortgage at the same time, it is not consistent right? If I don’t want to lift a finger to improve the world, I will step back and support and let people who do.

    Some shark meat might be used for sure, but if one item is $1 per pound and the other item is $250 per pound (not real prices, just for illustration) if I am a sane, rational fisherman, I know what I will go after and damn the fish. Why operate a big boat if I can rent a dingy boat and just keep the valuable stuff ? Trust me, at my age, I might not know ecology and fishery but I know human behaviour. People will go to the maximum financial beneficial. It is all about the money. Some people might think other people are stupid, but fishermen are definitely not stupid.

    I am older generation from a traditional Chinese background. Let me say it is about time shark fin be banned. Such a wasteful and cruel practice. Years ago there were not enough rich people, so you catch the whole shark, fin for the small number of rich, and meat to the rest poor folks. But now with all these rich people and this equation doesn’t work anymore. In the city where I live, many people have shark fin soup regularly, hardly any one eat shark meat. You can’t even find them in supermarkets. I am many sane fishermen are bringing them in, lol.

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