Indian authorities alerted their Malaysian counterparts over an illicit shipping container containing four tons of shark fins, and the cargo was offloaded onto our country’s shores yesterday.
Initially labeled as “ray skin,” the contraband left Chennai en route to Hong Kong, but was stopped at the request of India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence according to Times of India.
The massive haul is only half of another recent raid carried out by the IDR, who found eight tons of shark fins at two locations in Gujarat over the weekend, also labeled as “dried ray skin.”
Shark fin export has been prohibited in India since legislature was introduced banning the trade in 2015, with savvy smugglers resorting to labeling their hauls as “dried ray skins, dried marine products, or fish maw” to circumnavigate authorities.
Now authorities are curious to crackdown on who the consignee was on the Hong Kong end of the trade, and how goods were declared there to authorities.
Shark finning is seen by many as a cruel practice, with live sharks having their fins cut, and subsequently being tossed back into the ocean.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fin — often served as a soup at expensive Chinese banquets — but it prohibits the trade in products taken from endangered species.
Companies including airlines Cathay Pacific and Virgin and shipping company Maersk have barred the transportation of shark fins following public outcry over the trade, which is blamed for the deaths of tens of millions of sharks every year.
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