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Hawaii: First in the USA to ban possession of shark fins

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May 28, 2010: Hawaii has become the first state in the United State to ban the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins. 

Today Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii signed the bill prohibiting the possession, sale, trade or distribution of shark fins, an ingredient in expensive shark fin soup served in Asian restaurants. 


The Act, which takes effect July 1, 2010, gives restaurants in Hawaii until July 2011 to dispose of stocks of shark fins. Thereafter, those in violation of the Act will face fines ranging to $15,000 for a first offense. A second offense provides for fines from $15,000 to $35,000, and shark fins, commercial marine licenses, vessels, fishing equipment, or other property involved in the violation will be subject to seizure and forfeiture. Penalties for a third offense provides for fines from $35,000 to $50,000, seizure and forfeiture as above, plus a year in jail. The Act has teeth! 



The Shark Research Institute is asking other states and the federal government to follow suit with similar legislation modeled after the Hawaii bill.