| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Colombia confiscates more than 3,000 shark fins

Thousands of shark fins were seized by Colombian authorities before they could be illegally transported to Hong Kong, officials said.

Environmental ministry head Carolina Urrutia said Bogota “confiscated 3,493 shark fins and 117 kilos of fish bladders that were en route to Hong Kong.”

The haul sheds light on the ongoing demand for shark fin, served at wedding banquets in some Chinese communities and falsely believed to have medicinal properties.

The fins, removed from 900 to 1,000 sharks measuring up to five meters, were found on Friday in five boxes in Bogota’s busiest airport El Dorado.

Taken “more than three species” of shark, the fins were likely harvested in “illegal fishing,” said Urrutia, denouncing “the irreversible environmental damage to Colombia’s marine ecosystem.”

National police will handle the probe, she added.

Shark fishing has been forbidden in Colombia — which is home to 76 of the 500 known shark varieties — since 2020 in an attempt to stem Asia’s fin trade.

The sale and consumption of shark fin is not illegal in Hong Kong but must be licensed, and has remained stubbornly popular despite years of campaigning.

  • AFP