SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— California’s shark fin ban faces a legal challenge by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement.

The attorney for both organizations,Joseph Breall, is heartened by this new Justice Department’s amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that states the state ban is pre-empted by federal law.

“They’re preventing American fisherman from selling their wares and they’re preventing Asian-Americans from conducting their cultural practices that go back to the Han Dynasty,” Breall said.

Federal law prohibits fining— simply cutting off the fin of a shark and discarding the rest—but doesn’t regulate the sale of fins when the entire shark is harvested.

Congressman Jared Huffman of Marin said both laws are needed to deal with the international fining problem.

“This is really important, and we’re making great traction and we’re making progress in shutting down the shark-fin trade. That’s going to be really important for our ocean’s ecosystem,” he said.

Along with Huffman, conservation groups like the Humane Society have said shark populations are in sever decline due to fining and that the practice of dumping a live shark back into the ocean without its fin is cruel and wasteful.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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