Md. shark fin bill supported by fishing interests

Md. bans shark fin sales, seeking to prevent wasteful finning, trade group supports state bill

Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A shark fin bill passed by Maryland lawmakers is drawing support from fishing and conservation interests.

Environmental groups have long pushed for shark fin bans, noting shark populations are being decimated by the practice of finning in which live sharks are left to die after having their fins cut off for the lucrative trade in the Asian delicacy.

One trade group, however, argues that California's more extensive ban hurts fishermen who catch spiny dogfish, a small shark also used for fish and chips that is sustainably harvested. The Maryland law exempts the shark species along with several others and is being supported by the Sustainable Fisheries Association, a Massachusetts non-profit founded by four seafood processors.

Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign the bill into law on Thursday.

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