For the last three years the port of Savannah has been the U.S. leader in the export of shark fins, a legal but controversial trade item used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in parts of Asia.

Federal fisheries data show that although no shark fin was exported from Savannah in 2013, the trade here jumped in the following years from 18,444 pounds in 2014 to 25,765 pounds in 2015. That amounts to about $1.2 million in shark fins over the two years. Last year through November the export amounted to 19,171 pounds, valued at $559,845. In each case the shark fins were shipped to Hong Kong.

Fort Worth, Galveston, Los Angeles, Anchorage and New York were all in the business of exporting shark fins in 2013, but of those ports only Galveston has continued through last year, and its poundage has fallen every year. The trade is changing, said Lora Snyder, director of responsible fishing for Oceana, an advocacy group working for a U.S. ban on the trade of shark fins.

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