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Judge tosses legal challenge to California shark fin law banning Chinese delicacy

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has tossed out a legal challenge to a California law banning the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick said Tuesday that the law applies equally throughout the state and rejected arguments that the ban unfairly targeted the Chinese community. The Chinatown Neighborhood Association filed a lawsuit in 2011.

Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy among many Chinese diners and the judge conceded that the ban would have a bigger effect on them than others in California. But the judge said the law was not intentionally discriminatory and was meant to conserve the shark population.

The ban went into full effect in July.

Pius Lee, the chairman of the Chinatown Neighborhood Association, said an appeal is planned.

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