POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 1, 2011
The Oregon House unanimously passed a bill Friday that would ban the sale of shark fins used in a traditional Chinese soup.
House Bill 2838 now goes to the Senate. The bill prohibits the possession and distribution of shark fins and carries a fine of up to $720 for violations. It makes an exception for spiny dogfish, a small shark that accounts for 300,000 pounds in landings by commercial fishermen each year. Sport fishermen with a valid license are not affected.
About 150 sharks are caught each year off Oregon, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Hawaii has already adopted a ban. A similar ban in Washington state is awaiting the governor's signature and another in California is pending in the Legislature.
Whit Sheard of the marine conservation group Oceana said that winning a ban in Oregon and other West Coast states is part of a campaign to build international support for protecting the tens of millions of sharks killed each year for soup.