HONOLULU - A U.S. judge is allowing 10 Indonesian fishermen arrested in Hawaii to be released while a case accusing them of trying to smuggle sharks fins is pending.
According to court documents, they had been working on a Japanese boat and were headed home via Honolulu when airport security workers found shark fins in their luggage.
Court documents say there were at least 962 shark fins in 13 pieces of luggage. Authorities say some were from protected oceanic whitetip sharks.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang says the fishermen can't leave the island of Oahu without court permission and must stay out of trouble.
They were expected to be released from custody Tuesday and taken to a Honolulu hotel. Chang says they're not allowed to discuss the case with each other.
It's against U.S. law to engage in international trade of a protected species without a permit. It's also illegal to possess, sell or distribute shark fins in Hawaii, which was the first state in the nation to ban the pricey delicacy often used in Chinese soups.