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Published on Saturday April 23, 2011 - 5:46 AM
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GRANTS PASS, Oregon - A bill to ban the trade in shark fins used in a traditional Chinese soup eaten to celebrate success is moving through the Oregon Legislature.

A House committee this week unanimously passed the bill, setting up a floor vote.

Hawaii has already adopted a similar ban and Washington and California are considering them.

Environmental groups backing the bill say globally some 70 million sharks each year are thrown back into the ocean to starve or bleed to death after having their fins sawn off.

They warn that sharks are slow to reproduce and serve a key function in ocean ecosystems, and their survival is threatened by the demand for their fins.

Federal law requires sharks caught in U.S. waters be landed whole, but the fins can still be sold.