Bill could outlaw shark fins - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Bill could outlaw shark fins

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By: Brittany Paris
bparis@klkntv.com

Nebraska. Home of the Huskers, corn and shark fins?

Hardly, but Sen. Nordquist of Omaha has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to own or sell shark fins in the state.

"It's obvious there aren't a lot of shark fins in Nebraska, maybe only at the Henry Doorly Zoo and a couple of other places, but it would sent a statement that Nebraska cares about our world's ecological balance," he said.

Born Free USA, an animal advocacy group, says shark finning, the process of removing a shark's fin, effects millions of sharks each year.

The fins are mainly turned into food and are considered a delicacy.

"It's concerning to hear the research that's out there," Nordquist said. "It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 million to 100 million sharks a year."

Nordquist says the process is particularly cruel. The fin is cut off of a live shark and its body is returned to the water where the sharks inevitably die.

"It is a very inhumane way for any animal, no matter what that animal is, to die," Nordquist said.

And although this is a landlocked state, a group of high school students in the zoo school at the Henry Doorly Zoo says the crisis is still directly relevant to Nebraska. The group convinced Nordquist to bring this issue forward.

"The students have done a lot of research on it and they've come across a number of retail establishments, specialty markets, that carry the product."

Nordquist says the state has taken action in the past on issues that maybe don't directly effect Nebraska.

"Even though it isn't an issue that's right in our backyard, we can make a statement," he said.

A public hearing on the shark fin bill is scheduled for this Friday. Nordquist says some of the students are expected to testify.

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