Shark Fins, © Jake Li/Defenders of Wildlife

A Huge Win for California Sharks

Beginning in 2013 the possession, sale and trade of shark fins in California will no longer be legal. It came down to the wire but California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed AB376 into law on October 7, 2011. This is a big win for sharks and a great victory for the many organizations who worked tirelessly on this legislation. We here at Defenders want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all the supporters who wrote to their congressional members and the governor lending their voices of support for passage of the bill.

Over 73 million sharks are killed each year by finning, a process that involves cutting off the shark’s fins, often while it is still alive, and throwing the shark back overboard where it can sink to the ocean floor and eventually die. Many shark populations have collapsed worldwide due to overfishing, with some populations declining as much as 90-99%. California now joins a growing worldwide movement to protect this rapidly dwindling species.

Shark FinsAfter signing the bill Governor Brown had the following to say: “The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans.  Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”


If you’d like to send a letter to California lawmakers and let them know you appreciate them protecting wildlife please head to Defenders’ Wildlife Action Center and send them your thanks!  

6 Responses to “A Huge Win for California Sharks”

  1. Muriel Servaege

    I’m pleased shark fins have been made illegal but I think there is still a lot to do to protect and even more to save sharks.

    • Sandra Vawter

      Dear Governor Jerry Brown:

      As a member of the Greater Dayton, Ohio chapter of Humane Society, PETA, ASPCA, and The Humane Society of the United States, I wish to commend you and your fellow members of Congress in winning this fight for justice for the California Sharks. I uphold your timeless effort in approving this bill making it illegal to harm these magnificent creatures and in so doing protecting the wonders of our oceans.

      Sincerely yours,
      Sandra L. Vawter

  2. Allan Macdonald

    Just need the Japanese to get on side with this and stop the trade. Humans are slowly but surely destroying what is good in nature, good in life. It’s in our nature to do so and some people just need to think what they are doing.

  3. Robyn brown 16 years old

    Thank you soo much Mr Governor. I know that a small thing like this will make a huge difference and for the protection of sharks it will take a lot. the world is a beautiful place and sharks deserve to live, and with that it will take all of us lovers for sharks to save them and in that i pray that there will be a day where everybody can enjoy the beauty of these amazing creatures!!

  4. Joe burbach

    Saving sharks is a huge step forward for the United States, Japan is a different story but, saving animals on one side of the Pacific can help lead to the protection of several other animals in the United States. Similar to the depleation of the Bison years ago, the shark was killed for just the fins, but now, sharks have the opportunity to start making a come back and continue to balance the ecosystem of coral reefs and coastlines. Thank you, governor you are setting the wheels in motion in a tough economy, which could bring several more laws and regulations to save the world, from itself

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