Federal Court Upholds California Shark Fin Ban

posted: 07/28/15
by: Danny Clemens
Shark with fin sticking out of water
Roger De Marfà/iStock

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit challenging California's 2011 ban on the sale and distribution of shark fins.

Plaintiffs Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement argued that the ban conflicted with a federal law from the 1800s that charges federal authorities with managing fishing off of the California coast. The plaintiffs also believed that the ban unfairly targeted Chinese Americans.

Conservation groups and animal rights activists have lauded the court's decision. "The California law and similar laws recently passed in more than a half dozen other states are critical tools in preventing the loss of millions of sharks each year to the cruel practice of finning," Ralph Henry, deputy director of animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.

Federal law currently prohibits the removal of shark fins from live sharks (a controversial practice known as finning), but only a handful of states have laws on the books that prohibit the sale of shark fins, according to the San Francisco Gate. Last month, Texas became the most recent state to ban the sale of fins.

Of the 100 million sharks harvested each year, up to 73 million are caught specifically for their fins.

Learn more about shark finning:

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Sharks of Palau: Shark Finning

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