Shark Fin Ban New York: Gov. Cuomo Signs Law Prohibiting ‘Inhumane’ Shark Fin Trade [REPORT]
A shark fin ban was signed into law in New York on Friday, making it the eighth state to prohibit the sale, trade and possession of shark fins. Governor Cuomo signed the shark fin ban, which will take effect July 1, 2014, in an effort to curb what he called the "inhumane" slaughter of millions of sharks every year.
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Seven other states -- California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Oregon and Washington - already have shark fin bans in place.
"Not only is the process inhumane," Cuomo said of the practice of shark finning, "but it also affects the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem." Shark fin is used in Chinese cuisine as a delicacy. The ocean predator's fin is used to make shark fin soup, a single bowl of which can sell for upwards of $80.
Shark "finning" is a pretty straightforward matter. It involves catching the shark, cutting off its fin, then tossing it back into the ocean to die. The New York Times reports that while New York is not a big shark-hunting state, it does have one of the largest Chinatown's in the country, where shark fin soup is still served and eaten.
And while shark hunting is banned in U.S. waters, trading shark is not illegal. New York's shark fin ban aims to address this disparity. From New York Times:
New York's ban takes effect in July 2014, which should give restaurants and banquet halls enough time to use up their stockpiles of fins, which are dried and bleached for sale. Even so, some of the fins can be up to 30 inches tall, indicating that some very large sharks are being killed.
Of the shark fin ban in New York, Peter Knights, executive director of the international group WildAid, told USA Today: "Finally some respite for beleaguered shark populations...New York is the last major market for shark fin in the U.S. to close and this encourages China, which has banned shark fin from state banquets, to take further action to reduce demand for shark fin."
Some 73 million sharks are killed globally every year for their fins. Hong Kong handles roughly 50 to 80 percent of the shark fin trade.
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