After months of wrangling, Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that would ban the possession, sale and distribution of imported shark fins in the state.

AB376 by Cupertino Assemblyman Paul Fong is meant to help protect the world’s dwindling shark population. It faced heavy opposition from many in the community who argued that the fins are used as a delicacy in a soup that is part of the Asian culture.

The bill split the Asian delegation in the California Legislature. Fong argued that it was needed to help protect endangered shark species, but others called the measure racist.

The ban will take effect at the beginning of 2012.

Governor Brown also signed another bill by Fong that allows existing stocks of on-hand shark fins to be sold until July of 2013. It also makes clear that sport fishermen who catch a shark can still eat the fin or have the shark stuffed and mounted as a trophy.



Photo Credit: NOAA, via Wikimedia Commons