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Shark Fin Soup State Ban Goes Into Effect Today

Shark fin soup (Photo by Jose115/Shutterstock)
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Shark fin soup is now illegal in California.

A new state law banning the possession or sale of shark fins takes effect today.

ABC News reports that Chinese neighborhood groups are continuing to fight the legislation in federal court since shark fin soup has long been a Chinese favorite.

The law, authored by Assemblymen Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, went into effect in January, but had exemptions allowing the sale of previously obtained shark fins until the end of June. Now, even those can no longer be sold.

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A lawsuit filed last July by the San Francisco-based Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement claims the legislation discriminates against Chinese Americans.

The lawsuit argues that shark fin soup is "a ceremonial centerpiece of traditional Chinese banquets" and is used in several key celebrations, such as Chinese New Year.

The case will return to federal court on August 14, said attorney Joseph Breall, who is representing the Chinatown Neighborhood Association. He says, The fin laws are pre-empted by federal law. If you have a legally caught shark, you should be able to possess its fin." He's hopeful the appeal passes in August. In the meantime, everyone is urged to get rid of their shark fins.

California Senate Says 'No, Thank You' to Shark Fin Soup