By BRIAN WITTE
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure banning the trade of shark fins in Maryland has cleared the House of Delegates.
The bill passed on a 115-17 vote Monday. The measure now goes to the Senate, where there is a similar bill pending.
Shark fins are used in traditional Chinese soup. Demand has led to the practice of slicing off the fins of a shark while it is still alive and discarding the wounded shark at sea.
Maryland has a small recreational and commercial shark fishery. State analysts say about 15 commercial watermen report catching sharks in state waters each year. The bill would limit the possession of shark fins to people who have landed a shark in a manner consistent with a license.
California, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon and Washington have enacted similar laws.