Photo Gallery: Taiwan’s Shark Fin Trade In Pictures
October 19, 2011
The Pew Environment Group has released a set of images detailing the expansive and unregulated nature of shark fishing in Taiwan. The depictions show fins and body parts of biologically vulnerable shark species being readied for market.
AsianScientist (Oct. 19, 2011) – On January 27 this year, the Pew Environment Group and TRAFFIC released a landmark report revealing the planet’s top 20 shark-fishing catchers.
This report listed Taiwan as having the fourth-largest number of reported shark catches in the world after Indonesia, India, and Spain, or six percent of the reported global catch of sharks.
With an average annual catch of 48,000 tons, fisheries for sharks in Taiwan are largely unregulated; and almost no limits exist on the number of sharks which can be caught by fishing fleets on the high seas.
In a set of images released today by Pew, photographer Shawn Heinrichs details the expansive and unregulated nature of shark fishing in Taiwan. The depictions show fins and body parts of biologically vulnerable shark species, such as scalloped hammerhead and oceanic whitetip, being readied for market.
“These images present a snapshot of the immense scale of shark-fishing operations and show the devastation resulting from the lack of science-based management of sharks,” said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group.
“Unfortunately, since there are no limits on the number of these animals that can be killed in the open ocean, this activity can continue unabated.”
The Taiwanese shark fishery is not limited to longlining fleets fishing in international waters, local boats are also landing sharks in Taiwan. Pictured here is a fisher’s catch of sharks along with mahi mahi.
Longline vessels at port near the Tung Kang Fish Market in Kaohsiung (Gāoxióng), Taiwan. Taiwan has the world’s second largest longline fishing fleet. Vessels may go to sea from nine months to several years at a time, with some of the catches being sent back to Taiwan via containers on refueling ships or “reefers.”
An assortment of shark fins. From 1985 to 1998, shark fin imports to Hong Kong and Taiwan increased by more than 214 percent and 42 percent, respectively; and between 1991 and 2000, trade in shark fins in the Chinese market grew by six percent a year.
Shark carcasses, also known in the fishing industry as “logs.”
Sharks pups still in placental membranes. Most sharks are late to mature and have relatively few offspring, leading to their vulnerability to dramatic population declines.
Shark fins drying in the sun in Kaohsiung before processing. This picture of over 3,500 shark fins provides a snapshot of a tiny percentage of the estimated 30 to 73 million sharks killed every year to supply the global shark fin industry.
Source: Pew Environment Group; Image source: Shawn Heinrichs.
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