On 7 September 2011, the California State Senate passed an Assembly bill that effectively prohibits the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins within the state. This landmark decicion will shortly close one of the biggest markets for shark fins outside of Asia.
Shark “finning” is the wasteful practice of cutting off a shark’s fins and discarding its carcass at sea. Finning is driven by the discrepancy between generally low value shark meat and high value shark fins, a traditional, luxury seafood product in Chinese cuisine which retail for an average of US$ 100/kg. Strong demand for fins contributes to the fishing pressure on shark populations around the world. For more info on shark finning, please visit the website of IUCN's Shark Specialist Group: http://www.iucnssg.org/index.php/finning
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes assessments for over 100 species of elasmobranchs, the family of fishes that includes sharks. The 2000 Red List has 19 species in the Vulnerable category, 17 in Endangered and four in Critically Endangered. Among those of particular concern are the basking shark and sawfishes.
For more details on the conservation status of sharks, please visit: http://www.iucnssg.org/