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Lawmaker wants to ban shark fin sales

A state lawmaker wants to ban the sale of shark fins in Massachusetts, hoping to save the animals from individuals who cut off their fins and throw them back in the water to drown or bleed to death.

State Representative Jason Lewis, Democrat of Winchester, recently filed legislation to outlaw the sale, possession, or trade of shark fins. The fins are mainly used in shark fin soup, and more than a dozen restaurants in Chinatown sell the dish, which is considered a delicacy, according to Lewis.

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Demand for fins is driving a massive overfishing of sharks, threatening extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Despite a “shark finning” ban in US waters, more than 70 million sharks around the world are stripped annually, according to environmental-ists.

By banning the sale of shark fins in Massachusetts, Lewis said he hopes to snuff out demand locally.

The legislation is in the Rules Committee, awaiting a committee referral.

Lewis said he worked with fishermen to ensure the legislation did not hurt the fishery.

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