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Group urges more effort on shark conservation

2012/06/08 22:51:47

Taipei, June 8 (CNA) An environmental group called Friday for intensified efforts to conserve sharks, saying that testing has shown that nearly 60 percent of the sharks in waters around Taiwan are listed as threatened species by the international community.

The Society of Wilderness said that in a one-year shark DNA test it worked on with Allen Chao-lun Chen from Academia Sinica's Biodiversity Research Center, 960 shark samples from around Taiwan were collected, and 56 percent of them were found on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Chen said the Fisheries Agency should further control the species on the list and set a limit on the total catch of sharks.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yao Wen-chih asked the Fisheries Agency to conduct random DNA tests on sharks annually and publish the volume of shark catches at fishing ports around Taiwan.

He also urged the Fisheries Agency to invest in upgrading the technology used to fish for sharks to help polish Taiwan's conservation image.

Society of Wilderness member Lin Ai-lung said this year's program was the first step toward supporting and monitoring the government's management of shark operations.

"In the future, we want to ask the Fisheries Agency to conduct random tests and establish a shark databank," she said.

According to Fisheries Agency statistics, Taiwan catches between 39,000 and 55,000 tons of sharks per year, and Lin suggested that the haul be cut to under 25,000 tons to act responsibly as a world citizen.

(By Wen Kui-hsiang and Lilian Wu)