CEBU – At least 19 thresher sharks were confiscated from a vessel that allegedly fished in protected waters.
Weighing 50 kilograms each, the sharks were taken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Cebu Provincial Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force from fishing vessel RB Sweet Angel.
The vessel supposedly fished in the waters off Hagnaya, San Remigio, Cebu, part of the protected seascape in Tanon Strait off the islands of Negros and Cebu.
The vessel was owned by Alma Aremas from Cantraba, Negros Occidental.
According to Task Force Operations Head Lyndon Ruiz, the shark meat were to be sold for use as an ingredient for fish balls, while the fins were to be transported to Chinese restaurants.
Shark fins are believed to have health benefits, and are usually served in a soup or stew in Asian restaurants. Dishes with shark fins are considered luxury items or status symbols, and are coveted due to their high price tag.
Environmentalists consider the restaurant industry's demand for shark fins to be one of the biggest threats to the international shark population, and have called for a blanket ban on the sale of any shark meat, and not only of rare species.
Thresher sharks are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in its Red List due to their decreasing population worldwide.