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United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20066
Nos. No. 05-56274, (9th Cir., 03/17/2008)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court judgment ordering the forfeiture of 64,695 pounds of shark fins under the Shark Finning Prohibition Act. Neither the statute nor its implementing regulations provided fair notice that the vessel, which purchased the fins at sea from other vessels, would be considered a fishing vessel under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The regulations may be reasonably read to provide notice that vessels that engage in at-sea transfers of fins are prohibited from landing shark fins in a U.S. port, but they do not provide notice that such vessels are prohibited from possessing fins for the purpose of making a delivery to a foreign port. Forfeiture of the shark fins would therefore violate due process.