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BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick late last month signed legislation that will prohibit the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
The legislation excludes possessing shark fins for scientific research, though a license is required. Additionally, it exempts several locally caught species such as skate, smooth hound sharks and spiny dogfish.
Punishment for violating this provision would include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 60 days and the suspension or revocation of fishing licenses.
The bill primarily affects distributors and retailers of imported shark fins, including markets and restaurants, and is expected to have a minimal impact on Massachusetts commercial fishing and processing due to the exemption of locally caught species. •