A federal court in San Franciso has rejected two Chinese-American groups' request to halt California's ban on the selling and possession of shark fins, according to a report by Associated Press published in the Eureka Times-Standard.
U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton on Wednesday, January 2, denied the request, rejecting Chinese-American groups' argument that the ban, which took effect January 1, 2012, violated their civil rights by targeting a food item used in traditional weddings and festivals, the report states.
The report says that 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, according to AP.