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(article, Culinate staff)
Shark-fin soup, that classic delicacy of Chinese banquets, has come under legal fire recently on the West Coast, where bills to ban the sale of the fins have been introduced in California and passed in Oregon and Washington. (The shark-fin trade is already banned in Hawaii.) At issue: a cultural tradition pitted against a devastating practice. Some 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, which are considered a centerpiece of fine Chinese dining. As the Chinese economy has boomed in recent decades, so has demand for the soup. But as environmental awareness increases, the desire for a traditional luxury may be dropping. And on the West Coast, shark-fin soup may soon become a relic of the past — if, that is, the U.S. fishing fleet cuts back on its heavy shark harvests.