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Ecuadorian Officials Seize 100,000 Illegal Shark Fins

posted: 05/28/15
by: Danny Clemens

Ecuadorian Interior Minister Jose Serrano today announced the arrest of three individuals found in possession of at least 100,000 shark fins. The arrests were made during a series of nine searches in the port city Manta, along the Pacific coast of Ecuador.

"We must end these criminal networks that don't see that their economic interests are destroying the ecosystem", Serrano said in a tweet.

Shark fishing is illegal in Ecuador. According to WildAid, "Directed fishing for sharks is banned in all Ecuadorian waters, but sharks caught in 'continental' (i.e. not Galapagos) fisheries may be landed if bycaught. Sharks must be landed with fins attached in all fisheries."

Shark fins are a highly valued commodity in Asia; they are an essential ingredient in shark fin soup, and have traditional medicinal applications. Shark finning is a highly controversial practice -- some shark finners rip the fins off of sharks and release the incapacitated animals back into the ocean, unable to swim. The Save our Seas Foundation estimates that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually as part of the international shark trade.

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