SALEM, Ore., Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Oregon has passed a bill conservationists say puts the state firmly in a national effort to end the trade in shark fins.
Gov. John Kitzhaber signed bill the Thursday banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The fins, highly prized as a food delicacy in Asia, are often cut from a live shark, which is then thrown back in the ocean where it can bleed to death, drown or be attacked by predators.
"With the global trade in shark fins pushing sharks toward extinction, it will take strong actions such as this to prevent us from making irreversible changes to our ocean ecosystems," Whit Sheard of Oceana, a maritime conservation organization, said of Oregon's action.
Oregon joins Hawaii and Washington in banning the practice, and President Barack Obama signed federal legislation this year tightening a ban on shark finning in U.S. waters.