Hawaii bans shark fin soup

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
May 31, 2010



Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, has signed into law a ban on shark-fin soup beginning July 1st, 2011, according to Reuters. The soup is currently served in a number of Chinese restaurants in Hawaii, but the trade has decimated certain shark species due to overfishing.

Restaurants will be allowed to finish their inventory of shark fin, but after next July fines will run from a low of $5,000for a first offense to a high of $50,000 and up to a year in jail for the third offense.

Between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins to produce the high-end delicacy in Asia. Sharks are brought aboard ships where their fins are cut off then they are thrown back into the water—often still alive—where they succumb to their injuries.

The trade is seen as the primary driver behind drastic declines in many shark species. The scalloped hammered population has dropped by 98 percent in some regions, while the oceanic whitetip shark has declined by 90 percent in the central Pacific Ocean and 99 percent in the Gulf of Mexico. The IUCN Red List has found that 32 percent of open ocean sharks and rays are currently threatened with extinction, a much higher percentage than mammals or birds.

Earlier in the year eight shark species failed to gain international protection at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Pressured by Japan, votes to protect sharks and other marine species failed time and again.

While Hawaii's market for shark fin soup is tiny compared to China and Japan, the law is seen as largely symbolic of the need to protect sharks. Hawaii will be the first US state to have such a ban.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (May 31, 2010).

Hawaii bans shark fin soup.

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0531-hance_sharkfin.html