The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland’s lawmakers have introduced legislation to ban trade in shark fin. Bills introduced into both House and Senate would outlaw sale, trade, distribution or even possession of raw, dried or processed shark fins. Violations would be punishable by fines ranging from $5,000 for the first offense up to $50,000 for repeat infractions. One animal-welfare group has a list of 10 Asian eateries in Howard County and the Washington suburbs that serve shark fin and while U.S. Customs data show exports of shark products, mainly dogfish, from Washington and Norfolk, the broader mid-Atlantic region is a net importer of shark products, with 6155 kilos imported last year, valued at nearly $700,000. Some 800 kilos valued at $70,000 were exported over the same period.
HB 393 is set for hearing on 22 Feb. in House Environmental Matters Committee. Its cross-filed companion bill, SB465, has not been given a hearing date yet.