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California officials make big shark fin bust in SF

Shark Fin Bust

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - More than a ton of illegal shark fins were seized from a vendor in San Francisco, state wildlife officials said Friday.

Michael Kwong, 42, of Kwong Yip Inc. was cited for having 2,138 pounds of the fins, which violates California's ban that went into effect in July, said Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Possessing shark fins, selling or trading them is a misdemeanor under California's law, so Foy said it will be up to a judge to determine any penalty.

Investigators were led to Kwong during an investigation of an Emeryville restaurant cited for selling shark fin soup on Jan. 27.

"We consider this an extremely egregious violation of the law," Foy said. "We will work with San Francisco's district attorney and push the case forward."

A message left for Kwong at his business was not returned.

Kwong has been an outspoken opponent of the state's ban, and he was a member of a Chinese-American group that sued to challenge its constitutionality, Foy said.

Conservation groups have estimated that 73 million sharks are killed each year globally for their fins, which are often cut from live animals.

Opponents of shark finning praised the state's bust.

"California's shark fin ban is critical to ending the cruel practice of shark finning, and to protecting sharks and ocean ecosystems for future generations," Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society of the U.S. said in a statement. "This important bust by California's 'thin green line' sends a strong message that breaking California's animal protection laws has consequences."

Kwong insisted that the fins be kept refrigerated during the investigation, in the hopes that he would get them back, Foy said.

The fins are often used to make shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese dish.

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington also have state bans on the possession or sale of shark fins, according to the Humane Society.

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sports February 15 2014 at 9:14 AM

He is on the path to citzenship.

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projcontrols February 15 2014 at 12:10 PM

cut mr. kwong fong loos fins off ( his feet ) see how he likes it the scum

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Velocity105 February 15 2014 at 12:13 PM

Cut off his hands and feet and throw him in SF Bay. Let him wonder if human appendage soup is really worth all the effort.

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projcontrols February 15 2014 at 12:13 PM

this ***** hasn't learned his lesson - put him in with the crips and bloods who will teach him about pain - he'll be their pinyata for his stay in jail the scum

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mtavolker February 15 2014 at 12:13 PM

Current laws do not discourage desperate souls from seeking a quick $$$. It is long overdue to embrace the concept of stiff penalties up to and including life terms for such egregious behavior.

We are dealing with people that lack morals and self respect.

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1 reply
heatseek1 mtavolker February 15 2014 at 12:20 PM

agreed, off with his head

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EVE February 15 2014 at 12:14 PM

Besides messing with the eco-system, how darn cruel can a human be cutting the fins off while they are alive?!!! I can understand if the whole shark is used as the Commercial Fisherman discussed. It should then be regulated . But this falls under abuse. If the Soup is so sacred then why is its gathering of ingredients so brutal. Seems there could be more cooperation from all to find a better way of doing some of these things.

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1 reply
kvave EVE February 15 2014 at 12:18 PM

Half of the time they actually cut the fins off . And throw the rest over the side. The Shark drowns , and dies. FACT (National Geographic Shark Special circa 1984)

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kvave February 15 2014 at 12:15 PM

Yes , By Catch is bad enough ...... but it is NOT the worst.

What IS however , is the specific targeting of these animals by a certain industry. And yes , the balance of Nature will be forever changed.

We are already seeing it near Baja , with the surge in Giant Squid Population. Japan and China have depleted THEIR waters , now our Idiot Leaders let them fish OURS.

Notice similar cultures to ours , although they may consume it (fish and chips etc) it is NOT in RECORD numbers. What , and more specifically WHO does that tell you is the REAL menace?

Why do you think the RHINO is having the same problem?

BREAK the Oriental "Herbal" Medicine Industry. If they hadnt ruined their home waters , they would have plenty.

For People that routinely preach "Balance" and Karmic Crapola , they sure seem hell bent on destroying the Planet dont they?

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kcarthey February 15 2014 at 12:18 PM

A number of nations have banned the practice of cut of and throw back of sharks for merely getting the fin. I find it somewhat surprising that the United States as a whole has not enacted such a law. But then again, thanks to the regressives, we're falling behind even developing natins in so many ways, that I shouldn't be surprised.

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2 replies
kvave kcarthey February 15 2014 at 12:21 PM

Thats because of two reasons. We have a LARGE Oriental Population , and as usual our brilliant weeny Leaders dont want to offend anyone , so Right/Wrong goes out the window.

2. The Very Nations behind the Fleets of extinction , are the ones we go begging to every Year for Loans

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1 reply
eddalefarm kvave February 15 2014 at 12:27 PM

This is true do not offend, it has to do with $$$$$$$$$$$$

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kvave kcarthey February 15 2014 at 12:27 PM

Just as certain Parties seek to balance Americas Budget on the Backs of Lower Income Americans NOT Guest Workers , Foreigners , or Illegals DO THE MATH !! Who does Washington serve?

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driftwooddreams6 February 15 2014 at 8:42 AM

Well they want do him anything he is a foreign business.
If it were an American owner they would hang him .

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philsun73 February 15 2014 at 8:55 AM

Shark meat is used more than some folks would like to know. It can be mistaken for swordfish steak, if you've ever ordered it in a Restaurant. You might be eating shark. Also Fish Chowder. And other menu items. Don't worry though if the shark has eaten human flesh. All fish do. I see no crime in Shark Fins. Next they'll put a ban on Snow Crab. Where the big claw is ripped off, and the crab turned loose to grow another one.. Oh Horrors! What about the raw oyster? Where a knife is shoved into it between its shell, and it is opened up, and cut away from the shell whence it is eaten alive. and having to go through the pain of being first dipped in a hot sauce. What a horrible way to go.

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2 replies
missyla27 philsun73 February 15 2014 at 9:03 AM

This is not a matter of an animal being killed for food. This is a matter of an animal being killed so that one part of it's body can be be consumed while the animal is left to suffer and die. Sharks do not grow back their fins like snow crabs can grow back their claw. This guy had over 2,000 pounds just in fins. Do you have any idea how many sharks that represents?? How many sharks were killed and left to die, to accumulate 2000 pounds worth of fins?

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vendelavee philsun73 February 15 2014 at 9:07 AM

The problem is the sharks are NOT used for food! Their fins are cut off and then they are thrown back in the water to drown. You are seriously uninformed on this matter.

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