The Ministry of Environment and Water initiated an investigative process regarding the seizure in Hong Kong of 26 tons of shark fins of the fox and silky species , which allegedly come from Ecuadorian territory.
The information was published by Hong Kong’s landmark South China Morning Post , and replicated in various national and international media.
The investigation will establish the sanctions contemplated in the current environmental regulations , if applicable, a statement indicates.
The State ministry indicated that it is carrying out coordination actions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador to collect official information from the relevant authorities. The Foreign Ministry reported this Thursday, May 7, that it requested the urgent intervention of the Chinese competent authorities to verify the facts through government channels.
The Ministry of Environment and Water convened various State entities with competence in the matter , to articulate efforts to strengthen the application of policies for the protection of marine fauna, in compliance with national and international legislation and to continue with the actions of investigation of this unfortunate fact.
The Ministry of Production recalled that the Organic Law for the Development of Aquaculture and Fisheries , published in Official Registry No. 187-Supplement of April 21, 2020, clearly stipulates that, if the hydrobiological resource comes from activities related to Illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing will be penalized with fines of up to $ 700,000.
On its side, the Prosecutor’s Office , through the International Affairs Directorate , articulates channels with the Chinese Embassy to request information regarding the event.
According to the South China Morning Post , the fins seized came mainly from silky and fox sharks , both protected species.
It is estimated that the fins had been removed from some 31,000 fox sharks and 7,500 silky sharks . And, according to Hong Kong authorities, at least part of the seizure is believed to be for local consumption and destined for restaurants and shops.
Under local law, the import, export or possession of endangered species without a license carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of HK $ 10 million ( USD 1,290,000).
The silky shark and fox shark are two of the shark species most threatened by indiscriminate fishing , according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. They have experienced in recent years a large population decline in all oceans.