Wildlife Inspectors Seize 1,400 Pounds Of Shark Fins Worth Up To $1 Million
The haul was discovered in 18 falsely declared boxes at the Port of Miami and they were believed to have been shipped from South America, bound for Asia.
The cruel practice of de-finning sharks before throwing them back to die a slow death is illegal, however, shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service worked with Customs and Border Protection to make the bust on 24 January, and the shipment is estimated to be worth between $700,000 (£536,000) and $1 million (£770,000) on the black market.
Speaking to CBS Miami, charter captain 'Bouncer' Smith said: "It is very big money stuff. It is very harmful to the ecology.
"This is one of the most heinous crimes in nature that we see. Whether it is rhino horns, elephant tusks, shark fin soup, they seem to be, if you convince 'em it's hard to get, they want it all that much more."
The seizure is now being investigated, though no criminal charges have been announced as of yet.
Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, told CBS News: "The seizure in Miami of 1,400 pounds of shark fins being shipped from Latin America to Asia speaks to the worldwide crisis facing sharks.
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"Up to 73 million of these majestic animals are butchered each year for their fins. The United States plays a key role as an international transit hub for shark fins.
"It is time for the U.S. Senate to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Sharks are worth more alive than in a bowl of soup."
According to the World Wildlife Fund, growing demand for shark fin soup is pushing the species towards extinction.
It's 'Say No To Shark Fin' web page reads: "Nearly 100 million sharks are estimated to be killed each year. The real figure could be anywhere between 63 and 273 million sharks each year. The shark fin trade accounts for around 73 million shark mortalities every year.
"Shark fin soup has been a tradition at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding banquets. But growing demand of shark fin soup is pushing our sharks to extinction and disrupting the balance of our oceans.
"The fundamental cause of the global shark crisis is that shark fishing is unsustainable. This means sharks are being removed from the ocean faster than they can replace themselves.
"For some shark populations, declines of over 90% are reported. This decline will continue if fishing pressure continues as it is now."
Featured Image Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service
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