California Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Shark-Fin Trade

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Shark fins in a bag await delivery at a wholesale warehouse in Hong Kong (Laurent Fievet)

Shark fins in a bag await delivery at a wholesale warehouse in Hong Kong (Laurent Fievet)

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – The Legislature has sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill seeking to ban the sale, trade or possession of shark fins, despite objections from two senators who called the measure racist because the fins are used in a soup considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures.

Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance said the bill “goes out of its way to be discriminatory.” He and Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco, a fellow Democrat, have said it is unfair to ban use of the fins while allowing shark steaks or shark skin.

Proponents said California has the most demand for the fins outside Asia. They estimate that 85 percent of dried shark fin imports to the U.S. come to California.

The state Senate approved AB376 Tuesday on a 25-9 vote.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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