Shark fins for HK seized in Indonesia

Prey and predator: Indonesian customs and quarantine officers inspecting the shark fins seized at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta. — AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities have seized about 3,000 shark fins that were about to be flown to Hong Kong, an official said, a rare success in the battle against the illegal trade.

The fins from the oceanic white-tip shark, a species protected in Indonesia and banned from export, were seized last week at the international airport that serves the capital Jakarta, government official Rusnanto, who goes by one name, said.

“The fins came from around 3,000 oceanic white-tip sharks, which were caught in the waters around Java island,” said the official who works for an agency that deals with fish, referring to Indonesia’s main island.

He said the haul was worth one billion rupiah (RM302,184) in Indonesia but would fetch several times that amount in Hong Kong, where shark fins are considered a delicacy.

Officials found the fins in boxes that were due to be exported, he said. The export company was being investigated, he added, without giving the name.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fin, which is often served as a soup at expensive Chinese banquets.

More than 70 million sharks are killed every year, according to environmental group WWF.

Huge quantities are exported annually to Hong Kong, and most of those fins are then sent on to mainland China. — AFP

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