Customs officials in Hong Kongmake the largest shark fin seizure of 26 tonsof shark finstaken from 38,500endangered sharks.Theywere discovered in two shipping containers coming from Ecuador.
Customs detected two smuggling cases of dried shark fins at the Kwai Chung Custom house Cargo Examination Compoundon April 28th and May 4. About 13 tons of suspected dried shark fins of endangered species were seized in each case totaling 26 tons,with an estimated market value of about $8.6million in total. According to a statement by officials, both cases also broke the past record of similar seizures counted in a single case by weight and value.
Most of the fins came from thresher and silky sharks,both endangered species.
After follow-up investigation, Customs officers arrested a 57-year-old male suspect in Sai Ying PunonApril 29. He has been released on bail pending investigation.
Investigations of both cases are still ongoing.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance,any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $10 million andimprisonment for10 years.
According to Wild Aid, sharks play a crucial role in maintaining marine biodiversity. Yet fins from up to 73 million sharksare used in shark fin soup each year. Consumption of this dish has led to overfishing of many vulnerable shark species, as well as the inhumane practice of finning. WildAid is campaigning to reduce shark fin consumption in China (including Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan) and Thailand,and to secure further restrictions to the global shark fin trade.
Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs’ 24-hour hotline: 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email: [email protected]