Walk into just about any dried goods store in Chicago's Chinatown and it's on the shelves — a dried corn-husk-like substance that's sparking controversy even hundreds of miles from the ocean.
Shark fin is a pricey delicacy used to make soup considered a status symbol at Chinese social gatherings.
But environmentalists say harvesting sharks just for their fins is inhumane and threatens shark populations. They've brought their campaign against it to Illinois, which could become the first inland state to ban its possession. Lawmakers are considering a proposal.
Lawmakers say Chicago is a hub for the sale and consumption of shark fin in the Midwest.
However, some restaurateurs support its prohibition. Experts say that may reflect a waning appetite for it as environmental awareness increases.