Politics

Court Rejects Request To Halt California Shark Fin Ban

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Glass containers filled with shark fins are displayed at a store in Chinatown on August 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  California State Assembly Bill 376 has been introduced and would ban the sale, purchase or possession of shark fins in California starting on Jan. 1, 2013. Those against the bill complain that it targets a cultural institution of Chinese citizens who eat shark fin soup.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Glass containers filled with shark fins are displayed at a store in Chinatown on August 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California. California State Assembly Bill 376 has been introduced and would ban the sale, purchase or possession of shark fins in California starting on Jan. 1, 2013. Those against the bill complain that it targets a cultural institution of Chinese citizens who eat shark fin soup. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – A federal court has rejected two Chinese-American groups’ request to halt California’s ban on the selling and possession of shark fins.

U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton on Wednesday denied the request, rejecting Chinese-American groups’ argument that the ban, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012, violated their civil rights by targeting a food item used in traditional weddings and festivals.

California’s shark-fin soup market was once the largest outside of Asia.

Critics of shark finning estimate that 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, removing a key predator from the marine food chain.

Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Guam already have bans in place, and the practice is restricted in U.S. waters.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Breall said he would not appeal Hamilton’s ruling, but would move forward to trial.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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