Success: Ban on Shark Finning Will Continue


Target: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas

Goal: Praise California for continuing the ban on selling shark fins.

It has been illegal to sell, distribute or possess shark fins for four years in California thanks to a court ruling and public outcry, including from ForceChange. Recently a lawsuit was filed to undo the law, saying that the ban was specifically targeting the Chinese community and was sent to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to once again allow the hunting of sharks just for their fins.

The Chinatown Neighborhood Association and the Asian Americans for Political Advancement felt that the ban was targeting the Chinese community, which uses the fins in the popular delicacy of shark fin soup. They pursued a legal suit by claiming that the ban was against federal laws, which do not outlaw possession and sale of shark fins, only the actual practice of “finning.” But their claim was overruled 2-1.

Obtaining shark fins involves removing them from a living shark before releasing it. The sharks then are unable to swim properly and sink to the bottom of the ocean where they either suffocate or are eaten by predators. The practice is wasteful and inhumane and the ban was meant to protect sharks from animal cruelty. The law does not prevent the hunting of sharks that can be killed, brought back to land and then have their fins removed.

Maintaining this law is an important part of protecting sharks from a practice that is cruel to this prehistoric species that is already constantly a target of human hunting. Allowing shark finning to occur forces them to endure a long death because their fins are considered valuable. Thank you California for continuing to protect the sharks.


Dear Judge Thomas,

It has been four years since it became illegal to hunt sharks for their fins in California, and a recent lawsuit to undo the law that has protected so many sharks from the brutal practice was brought to your court. The decision to continue to enforce this law that protects sharks and respects their rights as animals is an important one in preserving wildlife.

Sharks are a species often killed because they dwell near humans, and this is enough unfair targeting without adding fishing for just one small body part on a large animal. By continuing to force fishermen to bring in all of the shark instead of leaving part of it to die in the ocean will hopefully help prevent cruelty towards the species.

This ban was put in place with the intent of protecting animals and has done that, despite challenges. The fact that interest of the rights of sharks was protected is vital, and it’s a relief that shark fins will stay where they belong.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Sebastian Losada

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  1. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    Apparently the Chinese nation and the Chinese community at large around the world are unable to grasp that civilization has progressed beyond the 12th Century. Thanks to California for doing the right thing.

  2. Jean-Louis Rubens says:


  3. I, myself, am not Chinese, but have a Chinese last name, I lost my husband 7yrs ago. I’m a widow. But in our relationship I was shown all the Asian delicacies. Shark fin soup, I refused to eat. My younger niece and nephew are not eating it either. They are 12 and 10. I have changed them, but it’s difficult to try to change their relatives, when the Chinese culture, dosent see the problem with eating, it’s a tradition that’s hard to understand, when they don’t even see the problem. Now or long term. I changed the children, I will keep trying.

  4. Thank God! – there really is some rationality and compassion in the world — thank God.

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