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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shark Fin Culture in the United States: Understanding Consumer Behaviors and Attitudes Under Proposed Policy Actions


The notorious shark fin industry has been a targeted environmental and animal welfare issue due to the unsustainable, wasteful, and inhumane fishing practices that threaten shark species around the globe. Despite the increasing efforts of many Western environmental groups and activists, consumption in Asia, primarily China and Hong Kong, was estimated to have increased in recent years. Furthermore, countries that are not consumers in the shark fin market are depleting their local shark populations by exporting this highly demanded product. Governments have attempted to curb finning by banning trade of shark fins, imposing landing regulation, or establishing a shark sanctuary. In the United States, legislative actions are developing along the three west-coast states to prohibit import of fins. This project aims to understand the culture of shark fin consumption in the United States, indicated by awareness, behaviors and preferences. The findings will inform strategies for education and marketing campaigns, as well as support developing legislative actions that will ban trade, sale, and possession of shark fin. 

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