There’s little debate that cutting the fins off of living sharks and selling them as food is cruel and inhumane, but the state of New York is finally acknowledging its disapproval of the practice by banning the sale of shark fins starting in 2014. Sourcing the fins, which are used in the Chinese dish shark fin soup, is responsible for the death of 73 million sharks every year. Since New York City has one of the largest Chinatowns in the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo felt the ban was crucial to the fight to keep sharks safe and protected.
Still found in many stores in Chinatown, dried out shark fins are sold for shark fin soup, a dish popular at celebrations and weddings. Believed to bring good luck and health, the dried fins can sell for $100 to $500 a pound. A bowl of shark fin soup can then cost up to $80. This high price has encouraged the “finning” of sharks by fisherman, in which they cut off the shark’s fin and throw the bleeding animal back into the ocean to die.
Starting on July 1st of 2014, the sale of most shark fins will be banned, however two species of dogfish fins will still be allowed. Most cooks don’t use dogfish in shark fin delicacies, but the new ban may change that. California banned the sale of shark fins years ago, with Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Oregon, and Washington following suit.
Via Huffington Post