Target: Lt. Patrick Foy of California Fish and Wildlife
Goal: Commend officials for shark fin bust in San Francisco
More than a ton of shark fins were confiscated from a vendor in a recent bust in San Francisco. A ban that went into effect in July 2013 prevents the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins within California. This new rule has sparked outrage among the Asian community, but its implementation is crucial to saving the shark population. The officials in this bust should be commended for their efforts.
Michael Kwong, 42, was cited for possessing 2,138 pounds of shark fins. Violating the shark fin ban is a misdemeanor, and Kwong will be facing a judge to determine his penalty. A recent investigation into a restaurant selling shark fin soup in Emeryville, California led investigators to Kwong, who no doubt supplied the restaurant with shark fins. Kwong is also very outspoken against the ban on shark fins in California, and is a member of a Chinese-American group who sued to challenge the constitutionality of the ban.
It is estimated that 73 million sharks are killed each year for just their fins. The sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, and then they are released back into the ocean. This practice leaves many sharks dead. The ban was instituted because of a concern about the shark population, which is dwindling. Other laws, like Australia’s policy of killing large sharks found within beaches, do not help their numbers either.
Punishing those who continue to sell and possess shark fins sends a clear message about the state’s concern over the shark population. The shark population is still declining despite these recent measures, and it will take years for their numbers to come back. Officials involved in this bust should be commended as they are helping to curb the demand for shark fin soup.
Dear Lt. Patrick Foy,
I am writing this letter to commend you and other officials involved in the bust of Michael Kwong. I understand that this man possessed a massive amount of shark fins – an astounding 2,138 pounds worth. I understand that possessing and selling shark fins is illegal in California, as the method of obtaining shark fins is making the shark population dwindle. I know that this ban is meant to stop the demand for the soup and you are aiding with this course of action.
While I understand that this dish is an ethnic cuisine, and the Asian community is outraged by the ban, the sharks’ well being should come first. After all, if all of the sharks disappear from our planet, shark fin soup will disappear with it. I am grateful that California has organizations who believe in protecting sharks’ numbers, and I hope you will continue to strive for conservation of all our planet’s resources.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Audrey via Wikimedia