Following the lead of several other states, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill today that will ban the possession, sale, and the ingestion of shark fins, signaling the death knell for a traditional Chinatown delicacy: shark fin soup. For shark biologists and enthusiasts everywhere, this is a real victory, for shark populations have been declining at an uneasy and dramatic pace for some time now.
“Not only is the process inhumane, but it also affects the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem,” the governor said in a statement, adding that the state “will be doing its part to help preserve this important species and maintain a stable environment for them.”
New York may not a big shark-hunting state, but it is a ginormous market for the fins and the soup they flavor, a salty broth often served at weddings and other banquets.
While the process of “finning”, cutting off the shark’s fin and tossing the animal back in the water, was already illegal in waters off New York, those laws did not bar “the trade in shark fins within the state.”
New York is the second most populous state to ban the fins, after California, whose ban took effect earlier this month. All told, eight states have bans in effect… only forty-two more to go.