The Chinatown Neighborhood Association announced Wednesday that it intends to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn a California law banning the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins.
Last October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 376, which was proposed by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Sunnyvale). The ban was aimed at discouraging shark finning, in which fins are cut off a live shark and its carcass is thrown back into the water. Critics say the practice kills millions of sharks each year. Shark fins are used in shark fin soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
But Pius Lee, president of California Realty and Land Inc. and a member of the association, said these claims are false and misleading, and discriminate against Chinese-Americans.
“This practice happened 12 years ago in other small countries, but not U.S. waters,” Lee said. “Merchants are losing business — approximately $40 million and a loss of 300 jobs throughout California — and it’s discriminating to the Chinese population.”
Lee noted that the law allows consumers to eat shark meat steaks, but not shark fin soup, leading to racial tensions.
“How can you save the shark if you ban eating only the fins, but not the shark meat?” Lee asked. “This ruling is not the solution to the problem. In order to save the sharks, you might as well ban the whole shark entirely.”