While shark fins were officially banned as of the first of the year, a loophole in the law is driving local prices for the delicacy to new highs, the World Journal reports. California outlawed the sale and importation of shark fins since the practice is considered cruel to the shark which is then often left to die. But already stocked shark fins obtained before this year are allowed on the market until July 1, 2013. This one-and-half-year “buffer time” has boosted both the price of and demand for the soon-will-gone traditional dish at the Chinese restaurants.
Manager Eddie from Capital Sea Food Restaurant told World Journal that almost all dinner reservations for Chinese New Year at his restaurant included shark-fin dish. Monterey Palace Restaurant saw a similar increase in popularity of the di at weddings and birthday parties. He said to World Journal that shark fin cost $110 per pound at the end of year 2010; it has increased to $140 to $150 per pound at end of 2011.