SACRAMENTO (CN) - Sale or possession of shark fins will be illegal in California under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday, though restaurants may continue selling them through the end of 2012, and exemptions may be made "for scientific or educational purposes."
Brown said he signed the bill "in the interest of future generations." It makes it illegal for "any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin."
Many countries have banned finning: cutting off fins and dumping the maimed shark back in the ocean. Research shows that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent.
Predatory sharks are at the top of the ocean food chain, and their decline has a significant impact on other populations.
The bill, by Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino, states that decline in the shark population "constitutes a serious threat to the ocean ecosystem and biodiversity."
Shark fin soup is a delicacy in China, and "finning" is estimated to be $1billion industry.