Illegal Shark Fin Export Intercepted by Maldives Customs
A large consignment of shark fins marked for export from the country was seized by Maldives Customs at Velana International Airport on Sunday, 4 January.
Twenty-one boxes of fins weighing a total of 429kg were discovered among a shipment labelled as 'salt fish'. Maldives Customs has estimated the value of the haul at MVR 2.6million, approximately £123,560.
Photographs shared on Twitter show that the fins were packaged into boxes bearing the brand name 'Enzi', the trading name of Ensis Fisheries, one of the country's largest exporters of fish. However, the authorities have stated that the consignment was not declared to customs by a representative of that company.
Although little information has been released to the public while investigations are ongoing, the managing director of Ensis has reportedly stated that he will press defamation charges against the perpetrators once their identities have been revealed.
Up to 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year, a large percentage of which are harvested for their fins. Shark fins fetch a price of around $400 per kg but the fins from certain species – such as whale sharks – can command up to $20,000 per fin.
Shark fishing was declared illegal in Maldivian waters in 2010 following a significant reduction of regional shark populations.