Commend Efforts to Prevent Shark Finning

Target: California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Goal: Commend court for helping to stop shark finning

California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision to keep in place the law that bans the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in California. Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States said, “Federal courts have now ruled twice to keep California’s landmark shark fin law in place, rejecting the efforts from shark finning proponents to block enforcement of the law. The new shark fin law is a critical tool in eliminating the market for shark fins in California and ending our state’s role in facilitating this cruel and wasteful practice. Fins from sharks should be classed in the same category as ivory from elephants or horns from rhinos.” 

Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins while the remainder of the living shark is dumped back into the ocean.Sharks returned to the ocean without their fins are often still alive, though many die from the removal of the fin. Sharks that survive are unable to move effectively, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die of suffocation or are eaten by other predators.

Shark fins are a big market, due largely to the popularity of “shark fin soup.” Shark fins can fetch upwards of $300 per pound, which makes this torturous trade very profitable for fishermen. However, the meat of the shark does not bring as much revenue, so the shark is tossed overboard in order to make room for more fins.

The 2000 U.S. Shark Finning Prohibition Act restricts shark finning in all federal waters and both coasts. It also calls for an international effort to ban shark finning globally. However, this law is incredibly difficult to enforce since it requires constant monitoring of the entire ocean, which leads to states making their own, more enforceable laws. Hawaii has even outlawed shark fin soup, making the demand for shark fins in that state practically nothing.

California’s resistance to outside forces pushing them to repeal the shark finning law is commendable. It is a good step towards making shark finning a thing of the past in the United States.


Dear California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,

Thank you for rejecting efforts to block the shark finning law that prohibits the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in California. This law makes the U.S. restriction on shark finning more enforceable in your state, which is a good step towards solving the problem of shark finning.

Shark finning is a terrible, torturous, practice, and I commend you for standing up for the intent of the United States law banning the practice. The sharks that are being protected by this law are magnificent creatures who do not deserve to go through this torture.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Albert Kok via Wikimedia Commons

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