SACRAMENTO, CA (June 24, 2011) – Leonardo DiCaprio and a long list of prominent celebrities including athlete Yao Ming, actors Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox and pop star Ke$ha have written a joint letter to members of the California State Senate supporting Assembly Bill 376, which would ban the sale of shark fins in California.
DiCaprio teams with WildAid, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Humane Society of the United States to bring attention to dwindling shark populations worldwide. "Despite fisheries attempts at regulation, the inhumane practice of finning continues unabated too, as does the illegal capture of sharks from marine reserves and sovereign waters," writes DiCaprio.
Up to 73 million sharks per year are slaughtered primarily for their fins to make shark fin soup, a popular Asian delicacy. Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice – captured at sea and hauled on deck, the sharks are often still alive while their fins are sliced off. Because shark meat is not considered as valuable as the fins, the maimed animals are tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death.
AB 376 passed the State Assembly in May by a vote of 65 to 8, which sent the bill to the Senate. Although a recent poll commissioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium revealed that 70 percent of California's Asian Americans support AB 376, some Senators remain unconvinced. The bill will face a key committee vote on June 28.
DiCaprio encourages Californians to call their State Senators and voice their support for the ban by taking action through NRDC's website or through The Humane Society of the United States website.
A copy of DiCaprio's letter can be read here. To view WildAid's PSA from Yao Ming on shark fin soup, click here and an interview with Yao on shark fin, click here.
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