The Gulf of Mexico, at least off the Texas coast, soon could become safer for sharks.
Texas lawmakers are considering a ban on the sale and possession of shark fins, a move that reflects a growing trend to protect the imperiled creatures at the top of the ocean food chain.
Conservationists say the global trade for the age-old delicacy has helped drive rampant illegal shark finning. The practice involves slicing off valued fins from living sharks and dumping their still-writhing bodies back into the ocean to die.
They estimate that tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to support the shark fin market. By also banning the trade, "we are reducing the number of sharks killed specifically for their fins," said Katie Jarl, Texas state director for the Humane Society of the United States, which is lobbying for the ban in Texas and elsewhere.
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