A new law outlawing the possession of shark fin in Hawaii goes into effect July 1st 2011. The purpose of the law is to help fight overfishing of open ocean shark species-32% of which are endangered due to overfishing. Restaurants have until next July to run out their inventory; after that those caught with fins will have fines between $5,000 & $15,000. A third offense will merit a fine between $35,000 & $50,000 and up to a year in prison.
Vienna Hou, owner of Kirin Restaurant says, "Something will be missing. Decent Chinese restaurants - they all serve shark fin." She grew up watching her father sell shark fin as part of his seafood trading business in Hong Kong. The ban also kicks in right as the tourism dependent state is anticipating a surge in affluent Chinese visitors.