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Businesses cited for selling banned shark fins in Illinois

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Conservation police have cited four businesses in Illinois for selling shark fins, which is banned by state law.

Illinois became the first non-Pacific state to ban the sale, trade or distribution of shark fins when Gov. Pat Quinn signed the ban into law in July 2012.

The Department of Natural Resources website says the law was enacted to “help end the killing of sharks for their fins and prevent the collapse of shark populations worldwide.”  The DNR says after shark fins are harvested, the shark is frequently thrown back into the ocean where it bleeds to death or drowns.

Since the law was enacted in Illinois, DNR conservation police say they have documented more than 80 violations of the law.  More citations could happen after DNA tests are completed on some seized items that are believed to contain shark fins.

Illinois conservation police say they bought shark fin items from six different Chicago-area businesses in late 2013.  Officers went back to those businesses February 29, 2014 and found four of them were still selling shark fin products, which are banned by the state law.  During the February check, investigators said they seized 22 cans of shark fin soup and 11 packages of frozen blue shark fins were seized.

Violators face class A misdemeanor charges which are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.