Issaquah senator aims to pull shark fin soup off the menu

March 10, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. March 10, 2011

Though shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in Hong Kong, state legislators took a step Monday to pull the item from menus.

State senators unanimously passed legislation to eliminate commercial shark finning in Washington waters. Sen. Steve Litzow, a freshman Republican from Mercer Island and a 41st Legislative District representative, urged colleagues to adopt the measure. (The district includes Cougar Mountain communities in Issaquah.)

“What has been most interesting as I looked into this is that over 73 million sharks are killed every year,” he said. “Ninety percent of the shark population in the open oceans has disappeared in the last several years. This is another one of the small steps in keeping a healthy ocean.”

Fins sell for as much as $700 per kilogram in Asia. Officials said finning has increased near the Washington coast in recent years as the price climbed.

The bill sponsor, San Juan Island Democrat Kevin Ranker, said the bill is meant to address trafficking in shark fins, not shark finning alone. So, recreational fishermen and -women could still fin sharks under the measure.

“Shark finners are active up and down Washington’s coast to an unsustainable extent,” he said. “Many catch the shark, cut off the fins and throw the body back into the water. Without this legislation, shark communities will only continue to shrink until they become endangered or extinct.”

The legislation heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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6 Responses to “Issaquah senator aims to pull shark fin soup off the menu”

  1. Jane Doe on March 10th, 2011 7:21 am

    eish… be careful in your reporting, guys. recreational fishermen cannot fin sharks at sea under the recently signed US shark conservation act. recreational fishermen must land their sharks with all body parts intact, before they can remove the fins. it is illegal to carry a shark carcass if its fin has been removed in US waters.

  2. ding dong on March 10th, 2011 9:22 am

    Don’t we have bigger issues to focus on…i.e. the unions control of the legislature.

  3. mary on March 10th, 2011 11:31 am

    I am thankful that we have people who are concerned with the welfare of our aquatic life and oceans. Thank you to the men and women who concern themselves not only with issues such as unions, but also with issues like the humane treatment of animals. I am grateful there are people who work for the welfare of all animals, humans and every other animal that graces our beautiful earth.

  4. Good News and Bad News: Sharks Dominate Recent Headlines « Bush Warriors on March 10th, 2011 2:31 pm

    […] finners are active up and down Washington’s coast to an unsustainable extent,” said State Senator Kevin Ranker, who co-sponsored the bill. “Many catch the shark, cut off the fins […]

  5. Shark attack blogger draws supporters from across the world on March 10th, 2011 3:09 pm

    […] Issaquah senator aims to pull shark fin soup off the menu : The … […]

  6. Jupp Kerckerinck on March 11th, 2011 6:46 am

    Somebody asked: “Don’t we have bigger issues to focus on?” That is exactly the attitude we are dealing with. We need to remember that the oceans are our life support system. Without healthy oceans, we lose 50% of our oxygen, we would not get any more rain and could not grow food. Everybody is connected to and touched by the ocean. Whoever thinks this is not a very important subject, should try to stop breathing for a while and see how that feels. Sharks maintain the biological balance in the ecosystem of the ocean and therefore help to guarantee our survival. We should all remember that. Knowledge leeds to understanding.
    I applaud all legislators who recognize this and take action.

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