Seafood distributor fined $50K for importing, selling detached ray fins

San Mateo County prosecutors have obtained a civil law judgment requiring a seafood distributor to pay $50,000 as a penalty for importing contraband ray fins through San Francisco International Airport.

According to prosecutors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service detected a shipment of ray fins imported by True World Foods San Francisco LLC and alerted wardens with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in October 2014.

A search of records at True World’s facility in San Leandro revealed 60 instances of fin ray sales, totaling roughly $2,700, prosecutors said.

California state law prohibited the possession, sale or distribution of detached fins from elasmobranchii, a subclass of fish including sharks and rays, in 2012. Elasmobranchii are often victims of “finning,” a practice in which the fish is caught and dumped back into the ocean after having its fin cut off.

True World resolved the case by agreeing to the entry of final judgment, which permanently prohibits the company from buying, selling or distributing detached fins, in addition to a $45,000 civil penalty and the payment of $5,000 to the Fish and Game Preservation Fund.

True World officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judgment.

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