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Posted: Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 7:12 AM HST

Hawaii restaurants adjust to shark fin ban

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Chinese restaurants in Hawaii are adjusting to the nation's first total ban on shark fins a pricey Chinese delicacy that activists are trying to eliminate from people's diets to save the world's sharks.

Thursday was the last day the restaurants could legally serve shark fin under a state law enacted last year prohibiting the possession, sale or distribution of shark fins.

The law took effect last July 1, but gave restaurants a year to use up any remaining inventory. Now, restaurants serving fin will be fined $5,000-to-$15,000 the first time they are caught. A third offense would result in up to a year in prison and a fine of $35,000-to-$50,000.

Some restaurants that serve shark fin say they'll serve an imitation or vegetarian version of the dish going forward.

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