Perhaps nothing highlights the need to tighten WCPFC’s shark finning and transshipment measures more than Greenpeace’s documentation last September 9 of the activities of the Taiwanese vessel Shuen De Ching 888.
“The catch log indicated only three blue sharks were caught, with a total weight of 55 kg. Note that under CMM 2010-07 (5% weight ratio) that would mean a maximum of 2.75 kg of shark fins could be legally aboard the vessel,” Greenpeace reported.
Greenpeace found nine shark bodies and three sacks of detached shark fins in the freezer holds.
“The sacks were weighed on the ship’s scales, and were 35 kg, 27, kg, and 33-35 kg, respectively. This amounts to 95-97 kg of detached shark fins,” the report states. Based on the number of tails in the sacks, it continues, at least 42 sharks had been harvested.
In addition to violating the five percent weight ratio, Greenpeace suggests that the vessel also appeared to have violated the commission’s ban on retaining silky sharks. Shark experts contracted by the organization identified the fins as taken from blue, silky, and scalloped hammerhead sharks.
“Given the discrepancies between the duration of the fishing trip and the amount of catch logged and present on board, Greenpeace questioned the captain about any transshipment that might have taken place. … Initially, the captain asserted that there had been no transshipment since the vessel left from Taiwan, however upon further questioning the captain admitted that the vessel had transshipped parts of its catch four days earlier,” the report states.