Image via WikipediaJust today, there's news that a couple state reps want to ban "shark fins" in California. Assemblyman Paul Fong claim that 70 million sharks are slaughtered per year, mostly for their fins.
Well, marine biologist says that figure is bull****. That's the highest end figure available. A truer figure is about 38 million. It could be as low as 26 million. This was again, cited by National Geographic, who's not going to publish the "100 million" or even "70 million" figure.
Furthermore, Japan and China are the primary importers of shark fins. According to an importer, 95% of stock is going to China and Japan. China, with its growing economy (just passed Japan for #2 economy in the world) is the biggest importer of shark fins.
Thus, banning shark fin imports or sale in California will NOT significantly affect shark finning at all.
In fact, most of the sharks harvested are done in poor third-world countries like Ecuador, Indonesia, and so on. Though Japan has its own port full of shark finning. Except in this case, the carcasses are NOT tossed back into the ocean for the ultimate recycling. And according to Japanese government stats, their shark catch have HALVED since the 1960's (to about 35000 tons per year, and that's the whole sharks, not just the fins).
In fact, a 2010 film, called "The Shark Con", asks whether the "plight of sharks" and "shark finning" have been drummed up by so-called ecologists as a bit of fear-mongering.
Furthermore, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore are also consumers of shark fin. Yet it seems only Chinese are targeted.
Frankly, this is a purely symbolic gesture. It won't do anything significant to reduce the consumption of shark fins.