During the largest shark fin seizure ever, the Chinese region of Hong Kong saw customs officials make the shocking discovery of 26 tones of shark fins – all from 38,500 endangered sharks.
According to the South China Morning Post, the shark fins were found inside two shipping containers coming from Ecuador. Both shipments arrived within 10 days of one another. They were worth nearly $1.1 million!
As assistant superintendent for the Customs and Excise Department’s marine enforcement group, Danny Cheung Kwok-yin, said to the Post, “Each consignment consisting of 13 tonnes broke the previous record seizure of 3.8 tonnes of controlled shark fins made in 2019.”
The news media outlet reported that each of the containers contained more than 300 nylon bags of dried shark fins – all having been cruelly sliced off from estimated 31,000 thresher sharks and 7,500 silky sharks.
The customs officials first began to suspect the shipments when they noticed that there were markings on the boxes that were written in Spanish.
Cheung mentioned the fact that many shark fins come from Ecuador.
He further explained, “It’s unusual for some imported goods to be described in foreign languages other than English.”
According to the Post, the owner of the Hong Kong logistics firm receiving the shipments was brought under arrest. The 57-year-old man made bail but is still pending an investigation.
Gloria Lai Pui-yin, a senior conservation office with environmental group WWF-Hong Kong, said to Oceanographic Magazine, “It’s shocking to see such a big smuggling case in the city. We need to remain vigilant and ensure there is better oversight in the city.”
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.