Hawaii has become the first state in the nation to ban shark fins.
Gov. Linda Lingle on Friday signed a bill prohibiting the possession, sale, trade or distribution of shark fins, which are used in pricey Chinese dishes.
Exceptions will be made for researchers who have obtained a permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Lawmakers hope the new law will help prevent overfishing and extinction of sharks harvested for their fins.
Many Chinese consider shark fins to be a delicacy, served in high-end Chinese restaurants in soup and as fillets in gravy.
The bill passed the state Legislature earlier this year with broad support.
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