Panamanian officials find half ton of shark fins

The Associated Press
Friday, February 25, 2011; 4:39 PM

PANAMA CITY, Panama -- Customs inspectors have found nearly a half ton (421 kilos) of shark fins cut illegally from protected hammerhead sharks.

Customs director Gloria Moreno de Lopez said Friday that the fins were found at Panama's international airport in a shipment labeled as dried fish. She says the container originated in Ecuador and was bound for New York City.

Environmental organizations say shark fins are prized as a delicacy, and overfishing is putting many hammerhead sharks at risk of extinction. Fishermen who harvest the animals typically cut off the fins and toss carcass back into the sea.

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