US wildlife inspectors seized approximately 1400 pounds of dried shark fins. It is thought that it may be worth up to $1 million.
It happened at the Port of Miami when falsely declared boxes were discovered. It is thought that they were being shipped from South America to Asia.
It is illegal to de-fin a shark and throw them back in the water still alive. The demand for shark fin soup, however, continues to fuel the practice. That soup is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service worked along with Customs and Border Protection on the January 24 bust. The shipment is thought to be worth between $700,000-$1 million on the black market.
Charter captain “Bouncer” Smith told CBS Miami: “It is very big money stuff. It is very harmful to the ecology.
This is one of the most heinous crimes in nature that we see. Whether it is rhino horns, elephant tusks, shark fin soup, they seem to be, if you convince ’em it’s hard to get, they want it all that much more.”
The seizure is still under investigation and criminal charges have not been filed.
The president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson, spoke to CBS News and said, “The seizure in Miami of 1,400 pounds of shark fins being shipped from Latin America to Asia speaks to the worldwide crisis facing sharks.”
“Up to 73 million of these majestic animals are butchered each year for their fins. The United States plays a key role as an international transit hub for shark fins.”
“It is time for the U.S. Senate to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Sharks are worth more alive than in a bowl of soup.”
The World Wildlife Fund reports that the demand for shark fin soup is causing issues that could result in the extinction of the species.
On their “Say No to Shark Fin” webpage, it reads:
“Nearly 100 million sharks are estimated to be killed each year. The real figure could be anywhere between 63 and 273 million sharks each year. The shark fin trade accounts for around 73 million shark mortalities every year.
Shark fin soup has been a tradition at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding banquets. But growing demand for shark fin soup is pushing our sharks to extinction and disrupting the balance of our oceans.
The fundamental cause of the global shark crisis is that shark fishing is unsustainable. This means sharks are being removed from the ocean faster than they can replace themselves.
“For some shark populations, declines of over 90% are reported. This decline will continue if fishing pressure continues as it is now.”
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