Hawaii gets the Two Thumbs Up Award
for keeping shark out f the soup b0wl.
Being the first is often a tough road to hoe. This week Hawaii became the first state in these United States to ban the catching, possession, sale or eating shark fin soup.
The new law did not win a lot of friends in the Chinese community.
Shark-fin soup was just a regional delicacy in Canton, south China, until the late 1980s. The Beijing government had derided shark-fin soup as a symbol of elitism, but it ended this stance in 1987. Increased East Asian affluence quickly made shark-fin soup popular at wedding banquets, birthdays, feasts and business dinners, as a way of honoring guests. The demand has escalated astronomically in the last 15 years, and now it’s a standard dish.
The shark populations are being decimated for a bowl of soup! Now, about 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins. The long-term survival of many shark species is imperiled. The practice of shark-finning has fallen under increasing criticism, but efforts to ban the practice globally have failed.
Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law a bill that will halt the import of shark fins, which are valued as the primary ingredient in soup sold mostly in Asian communities and markets.
It’s hoped this will inspire other states and nations to also stop the practice of shark-finning, which entails slicing fins from live sharks and dumping their bodies overboard.
Let us hope that the success of the bill will motivate people in Hong Kong, Malaysia, other states in the U.S., Canada, and even Ireland to seek shark-fin-ban legislation.
Under provisions of the Hawaiian Senate Bill 2169 restaurants have until July 2011 to stop serving shark-fin soup. Then those caught in violation of the law will face fines ranging to $15,000 for a first offense; to $35,000 for a second offense, and to $50,000, plus a year in jail, for a third offense.
Go Hawaii! Mother Nature and Nature’s Crusaders thank you.
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