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Originally published Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

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Maryland bill would ban shark fin possession, sale

Maryland lawmakers are considering joining states that have banned the possession and sale of shark fins.

The Associated Press

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. —

Maryland lawmakers are considering joining states that have banned the possession and sale of shark fins.

Shark fins are popular in Asia where they are a delicacy used in soup. However, environmentalists say overfishing is threatening shark species.

House lawmakers in Annapolis heard testimony Wednesday on a bill containing fines of up to $50,000 for repeat offenders. If the bill becomes law Maryland would join California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Guam that have banned shark fin sales. The environmental group Oceana says Maryland's bill is similar to legislation also pending in New York and Illinois.

The European Union's executive arm said in November that it wants to completely ban shark finning - the practice of removing sharks' fins and throwing the finless creatures back into the sea to die.

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