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Shark fin ban in CA: Halt request rejected

Shark fins are shown in this undated file photo.

January 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A federal court has rejected a request from two Chinese-American groups to halt California's ban on the selling and possession of shark fins.

The groups argued the ban violated their civil rights by targeting a food item used in traditional weddings and festivals. The ruling stated that the plaintiffs showed no evidence they were being discriminated against by the ban, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012.

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.

An attorney for the groups said he is planning to take the issue to trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.