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San Francisco aquarium opens exhibit to highlight need for Shark finning legislation

Shark Image by Amos Nachoum(DiverWire) The San Francisco-based Aquarium of the Bay today unveiled its No Fins, No Future: Support AB 376 exhibition. The goal of the exhibit according to Aquarium officials is to help local sharks by spurring support for the passage of Assembly Bill, AB 376, which would ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in California.

The No Fins, No Future exhibit highlights the importance of this legislation through a multimedia station, including WildAid’s public service announcement by Yao Ming.

NBA superstar Yao Ming PSA on Shark Fining:

An action station will provide visitors with a chance to sign personalized postcards in support of AB 376, which the Aquarium will mail to the bill’s authors.  In 2010, an Aquarium exhibit calling for an international ban on shark finning generated more than 3,600 individualized letters and pieces of artwork from visitors of all ages.  Select artwork is incorporated in the new exhibit.

“The passage of AB 376 is an important first step for banning a practice that should be globally illegal,” said Christina J. Slager, Director of Husbandry for Aquarium of the Bay.  “Sharks are essential to the health of our oceans, and we need to do everything we can to help rebuild their plummeting populations both in our bay and worldwide—this is a great first step,” she continued.

AB 376, co-authored by California Assembly members Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman, (D-San Rafael) has successfully passed the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee with a 13-0 vote on March 22, and passed the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on April 6.

Assemblyman Fong says, “Aquarium of the Bay is a leading example of efforts to support the apex predators of our ocean that keep the balance of marine life.  Its No Fins, No Future: Support AB 376 action station exhibit is a stellar example of a medium available for the public to voice support for healthy sharks, healthy oceans, and healthy marine ecosystems.”

Each year, as many as 73 million sharks are killed – most for their fins, to make shark fin soup.  Marine scientists point to the cruelty of the finning process: once the fins are cut off, the still-living shark is thrown back into the ocean.  Due to this practice, many shark species have declined up to 90%.

No Fins, No Future is Aquarium of the Bay’s second exhibit dedicated to educating visitors on the practice of shark finning.  Additional details on the Aquarium’s shark conservation and research efforts can be found at http://www.aquariumofthebay.org/conservation.aspx?q=10083&c=1

Images courtesy of Amos Nachoum, Big Animal Expeditions

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