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California Considers Shark's Fin Ban; Controversy Ensues

Shark Fin Bans: Environmentally Conscious or Culturally Insensitive?

In less than four months, the state of Hawaii will be shark fin-free, and soon, the same could happen in California. The golden state is currently deliberating a piece of legislation that would ban the sale and possession of shark fins, too.

Proponents of the ban don't just cite the inhumane practice of cutting fins off live sharks, but the staggering drop in ocean shark populations as well: 73 million sharks are killed every year, and populations are just 10 percent of what they used to be. And, argues one San Francisco food critic, there are plenty of viable (and innocuous) substitutes for shark's fin.But not everyone feels this way. "The practice of shark's fin soup has been in our culture for thousands of years. There ought to be a way to find a balance between the environment and preserving culture and heritage," California state Sen. Leland Yee maintained.

"While we're at it, I'd also ban Caspian caviar and bluefin tuna until their fisheries recover. No doubt, that would raise an uproar in certain other cultural communities," Chinese-American chef Jonathan Wu retorted. Tell me what you think: is banning shark's fin environmentally conscious, or culturally insensitive?

Source: Flickr User closari

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