Shark fin soup has long been a delicacy in Chinese culture. It is traditionally served at celebrations and is a staple dish at many weddings. A bowl of shark fin soup can be priced in the $100 and up range, and it is seen as a symbol of wealth, status and power. This week, legislators in the state of New York have introduced a bill which would ban the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins. If the bill is passed, New York will be the fifth US state to enact such a ban, following in the footsteps of Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington. Guam and American Samoa have also enacted such a ban. The states of Florida, Illinois, Virginia and Maryland have similar bills in the pending stage.
As divers, snorkelers and ocean lovers, we know that our oceans depend on a thriving shark population to maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem. Yet according to the organization Shark Angels, only a few countries, including Costa Rica, Namibia and Australia, have banned the cruel practice of shark finning. Let’s hope that more states and countries jump on board and show their support to aid our declining shark population.