Shark fins found aboard foreign fishing vessels

Shark fins have been discovered on two Chinese fishing vessels during a joint surveillance conducted by Greenpeace and Guinean fishery authorities.

One of the vessels also had illegally altered fishing nets on board, while a third Chinese vessel was caught using illegal nets and fishing for species outside of its license.

The two vessels with shark fins on board have been fined with € 250 000 each, while the third vessel has been fined with € 350 000. The catch of all vessels have been seized by Guinean authorities.

Apart from the shark fins, Greenpeace also found numerous carcasses of sharks including hammerhead sharks and manta rays on board several vessels.

Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner, said:

“What we’re seeing here is an utter lack of respect for West African fishing laws. It also shows that local laws need to be strengthened to meet international standards where endangered sharks are no longer a legal catch.

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That is why we are recommending that coastal states improve their monitoring capacity and local legislation to protect marine life and livelihoods of local fishing communities.”

In total, Greenpeace and local officials inspected and boarded 12 vessels during their joint surveillance this past week. These included 9 Chinese vessels, 1 Korean vessel, and 2 Guinean-flagged vessels.

Currently 41 demersal and pelagic vessels are licensed to operate in Guinean waters.  85% are Chinese owned.