Fins from endangered hammerhead sharks in Hong Kong market traced mainly to Eastern Pacific
“The shark fin trade is a global market and international trade regulations are part of the solution to better manage threatened species like the scalloped hammerhead,” Chapman said. “DNA detective work like this helps us understand which regions in the world are most heavily fishing this species and can narrow down where conservation interventions are needed most.”
In 2013, scalloped hammerhead sharks received protection by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)—an international agreement protecting animals and plants from over-exploitation in international trade. Listed in Appendix II, all trade of these sharks requires permits certifying they were legally caught and traceable through the supply chain.
Shortly afterward, Chapman and the team conducted DNA testing on more than 9,200 shark fin trimmings and found threatened species continue to be found in the Hong Kong retail market. Scalloped hammerheads were the fourth most common out of more than 80 shark species found and the team estimated that around 60% of them came from the Pacific coast of South and Central America.
This study highlights the global nature of the fin trade and emphasizes the need for increased monitoring and better implementation of CITES regulations throughout the world, particularly in the Eastern Pacific. Chapman also points out that the United States plays an important role in intercepting illegal shipments since many shipments from the Eastern Pacific pass through major U.S. ports before reaching Asia.
The research is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, The Pew Fellowship Program and the Roe Foundation. The findings were published this week in Animal Conservation.
This article was published just in English
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