New York is the latest state to enforce a ban on the sale of shark fins, reports the Huffington Post.
Joining California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Oregon and Washington, New York's ban will go into effect next summer, and is sure to have an impact on Manhattan's thriving Chinatown, where shark fins are a popular ingredient in Chinese soups. The ban will, however, allow fins from two species of dogfish to be sold in the state. Dogfish are the most common sharks in the North Atlantic, according to the Huffington Post. But most chefs and restaurants don't use dogfish and prefer higher-end fins, which would not be available per the ban.
New York's shark fin ban will prevent sales of other, less common shark species, as those sales endanger the world's shark populations. As top predators, compromised shark populations threaten other species and pose serious risks to oceanic ecosystems.
"Not only is the process inhumane, but it also affects the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. More than 70 million sharks are killed every year for their fins. The practice typically involves catching the sharks, removing their fins and then dumping the fish back into the ocean. Without their fins, the fish can't swim and bleed to death. The practice, which is called "finning," is already illegal in U.S. waters, but the import of shark fins is not federally regulated.
Shark fins were once only reserved for Chinese royalty and wealthiest class. As the economic balance in Chinese populations shifted in recent years, shark fin soup has become increasingly more popular.
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Image: USFWS Headquarters