On behalf of the Sustainable Fisheries Association (SFA), the Garden State Seafood Association (New Jersey), the North Carolina Fisheries Association, and the Virginia Seafood Council, Attorney Whiteside drafted an Amici brief to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The suit was filed jointly by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement, and names California Governor Edmund Brown as the defendant. Below is a news release carried on Saving Seafood that describes in more detail the situation.

WASHINGTON — 12 March 2013 — On March 4, 2013 the Sustainable Fisheries Association (SFA), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization representing New England Atlantic spiny dogfish shark processors, joined a California legal battle arguing that a state law banning the sale and transport of shark fins is both wasteful and unconstitutional.
The ostensible purpose of the law was to reduce or eliminate the reprehensible practice of shark finning, in which the fins of a live shark are removed at sea, and the shark is returned to the sea to die, unable to swim. But the law also bans legally obtained shark fins. SFA, representing a fishery deemed “sustainable” by both the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and governmental regulatory bodies, takes issue with that aspect of the law, and filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California explaining their concerns.
The Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery is concerned about the law because it prohibits their ability to ship legally and sustainably obtained Atlantic spiny dogfish fins through California to other states and nations in which demand for the species’ fins is both high and lucrative. Though comprising only 3% of an Atlantic spiny dogfish, the species’ fin accounts for nearly 40% of profits generated by its overall sale. Without access to California’s ports and roadways, the fishery is poised for potentially catastrophic financial losses.

The amici brief details concerns for the ban’s legality, specifically regarding violations of the Supremacy, Commerce, and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution.The full Amici brief outlines the details and official court ruling on the matter.