Shark fin ban based in science; not racist 

As a biologist studying sharks and a leader in the shark conservation movement, I can cite numerous studies countering the attorney for Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement’s claims that shark populations are exploding (“Editorial had facts wrong on shark fins,” Letters, July 26). Although some populations off the U.S. coastline are recovering after being overfished, in general shark populations are crashing worldwide.

The opponents claim the law is discriminatory and that banning only 5 percent of the shark is a waste. However, relative to the demand for fins, shark meat is in very low demand, is generally unpalatable and the cost of the meat is a fraction of the fin.

The writer quotes Dr. Choo Hoo, a Taiwanese representative to the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. He is cited that there is no evidence of any need for a ban on shark fins. It is widely known that Dr. Choo Hoo, a veterinarian and not a scientist, has clear conflict of interest and represents the shark fin industry.

Falsely cited in your original editorial is the claim of existing Marine Stewardship Council certified shark fisheries off the east and west coast (“Soup ban about overfishing, not culture attack.” July 24). There is no such certification for sharks on either coast. Every targeted shark fishery to date has resulted in population collapse.

We have altered other American cultural practices deemed cruel or unsustainable, like foie gras, Beluga caviar, or elephant ivory. Aside from those profiting on the demise of wildlife, the majority of the Chinese American community is recognizing that shark fin is not a sustainable cultural dish.

Shark Stewards calls on the California Supreme court to reject these spurious claims of racism by self-interested business groups and uphold a law that supports sustainable fishing, and the health of our common ocean.

David McGuire, MPH Research Associate,
Department of Aquatic Biology,
California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco

Youth against free ride

As a high school student who regularly commutes by Muni, I stand firmly against the idea of free Muni for youth, as outlined in yesterday’s editorial (Free Muni plan’s defeat a setback for youths, city,” July 30).
First of all, Muni is bad enough already. Every day, I ride vandalized, dilapidated, and filthy cars, getting delayed as often as three times a week. When you consider that most of the vandalism is likely caused by youths and the number of extra cars it will take to carry them, it is clear that this plan is not sustainable.

Brian Chu
San Francisco

Griffin’s opinion is not fact

I wish your paper would master the basic journalistic rule of putting opinions on the opinion page and sticking to the facts, indeed, attempting a balanced view on the news pages.

Melissa Griffin failed in this respect with her article on the Beach Chalet soccer fields (“Soccer turf foes sling mud at board meetinmg,” July 19). Not only were many of the facts completely wrong, but Ms. Griffin clearly allowed herself to become the mouthpiece for Rec ‘n Park and Supervisor Scott Weiner. Yet, she contacted no sources with differing views.

I also object to the quotation of my e-mail to Supervisor Weiner, which I sent him on July 13th. Mr. Weiner did not obtain my permission to publicize my correspondence with him. But then he is perhaps well matched with Ms. Griffin, in failing to observe the basic rules.

Marilyn Kohn
San Francisco

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