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Senator Leland Yee Throws Down: Goes to Chinatown, Supports a Nuanced Approach to Shark Fin Soup

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Senator Leland Yee made it clear today that he doesn’t support illegal finning of sharks. But he opposes the idea of an absolute ban on shark fin soup in CA. It’s a “cultural showdown,” don’t you know.

Your State Senator in Chinatown. (Is this hostile territory for him now? It sure wasn’t a few years back, that’s for sure. No matter, they love him in the West Side of town, you ought to see it sometime. He has loads of boosters out there, irregardless of what the politicos of Chinatown say or do. Those voters might come in handy during our next Mayoral election, non?)

Click to expand

It looks like soup was on the menu at this particular presser, huh?

Don’t know a whole bunch about this issue, excepting for this back in aught-nine and the occasional sidewalk shark sighting you tend to have about town.

All the deets below, plus the minority report from Mssrs. Fong and Huffman, after the jump

“Senator Yee, San Francisco Chinese Restaurants Call for Greater Conservation Efforts, Not Ban on Cultural Cuisine. Yee Says Ban on Shark Fin Soup is the Wrong Answer to a Legitimate Problem

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) joined dozens of San Francisco Chinese restaurants to oppose a bill to ban the sale of shark fin soup and make it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, trade, or distribute a shark fin.
 
Yee released the following statement:
 
“I am very concerned with the plight of many shark species and the illegal shark fining trade.  That is why I support the federal law that bans the practice of killing sharks only for their fins and I would support state legislation to strengthen it.  I would also support legislation to create greater penalties for and enforcement of illegally killing sharks or selling any product from an endangered species. 
 
However, the proposed state law to ban all shark fins from consumption – regardless of species or how they were fished or harvested – is the wrong approach and an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine.   Some sharks are well-populated and many can and should be sustainably fished.
 
Unfortunately, this proposal is just the latest assault on Asian cultural cuisine.  Last week, we had to fight a proposal at the California Fish and Game Commission that would have banned frog and turtle consumption.  I had to pass legislation last year just to allow for the production of Asian rice noodles, and similar bills were needed to allow for Korean rice cakes.  There have also been previous efforts to end live food markets, roasted duck, and several other cultural staples.
 
Rather than launch just another attack on Asian American culture, the proponents of the ban on shark fin soup should work with us to strengthen conservation efforts.”
 
Demonstrating Yee’s steadfast commitment to environmental protection, this past week he earned a 100 percent voting record with the California League of Conservation Voters.  Yee was one of only two senators to receive perfect scores on every environmental scorecard in 2010, including the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action. 

PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
Senator Yee, San Francisco Chinese Restaurants Oppose Ban on Shark Fin Soup
Yee calls for greater conservation efforts, not ban on cultural cuisine

WHAT:Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) will joined dozens of San Francisco restaurants to oppose a bill to ban the sale of shark fin soup and make it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, trade, or distribute a shark fin. Yee is calling for greater conservation efforts including greater penalties for and enforcement of illegally killing sharks, but believes the proposed state law to ban all shark fins from consumption – regardless of species or how they were fished or harvested – is the wrong approach and an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine. Some sharks are well-populated and many can be sustainably fished.

WHO:Senator Leland Yee

Bill Lee, Far East Cafe

Willy Ng, Koi Palace
Timothy Lee, Imperial Palace
Hon So, New Asia Restaurant
Elaine Chiu, Grand Place Restaurant
Kon Hung Chan, South Sea Seafood Village
Michael Ou, The Kitchen
Henry Cheung, Charlie Seafood Inc.
Michael Kwong, Hop Woo Co., Ltd.
Best Trade Company
Paul Lee, City Super

WHERE:Far East Café
631 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, California

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