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Taiwanese fishing boat caught illegally catching silky sharks

2018/09/14 16:31:02

Photo courtesy of the Fisheries Agency

Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) A local fishing boat might face a fine and see its operating license revoked after being caught illegally catching silky sharks -- a species prohibited by the government for capture, the Fisheries Agency (FA) said Thursday.

About 30 tons of the fish were discovered on the Chin Chang No. 6 fishing vessel, the largest haul of the species ever found since the Act for Distant Water Fisheries was implemented Jan. 20, 2017, FA Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) said.

The Chin Chang No. 6 was found by FA inspectors to have conducted illegal fishing for the shark following a raid on the ship, which they said acted suspiciously before going to unload its catch at the Siaokang fishing port in Kaohsiung Sept. 5.

The catch was confiscated on the spot and it was determined Sept. 11 through DNA testing that the fish were silky sharks, the FA said.

According to the Act for Distant Water Fisheries, fishing vessels weighing between 50-100 tons face fines of between NT$2 million (US$65,000) and NT$10 million if found to have been engaged in illegal fishing or possessing, transporting, unloading and sale of prohibited species. They also will see their operating license suspended for two years or even revoked altogether.

Due to a continued decline in silky shark resources in recent years, the species has been listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on Appendix II, which means that trade of the animal must be controlled in order to avoid endangerment and extinction, the FA explained.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has banned fishing for the species, it noted.

(By Flor Wang and Yang Shu-min)
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