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Sanctuaries Kinda Sorta Protect Sharks

November 4, 2011

Hammerhead (with fins)

But not really. At least that’s what we might conclude from what’s been going on at Colombia’s Malpelo wildlife sanctuary. According to this report:

Colombian environmental authorities have reported a huge shark massacre in the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary in Colombia‘s Pacific waters, where as many as 2,000 hammerhead, Galápagos and silky sharks may have been slaughtered for their fins.

Sandra Bessudo, the Colombian president’s top adviser on environmental issues, said a team of divers who were studying sharks in the region reported the mass killing in the waters surrounding the rock-island known as Malpelo, some 500 kilometres from the mainland.

“I received a report, which is really unbelievable, from one of the divers who came from Russia to observe the large concentrations of sharks in Malpelo. They saw a large number of fishing trawlers entering the zone illegally,” Bessudo said. The divers counted a total of 10 fishing boats, which all were flying the Costa Rican flag.

“When the divers dove, they started finding a large number of animals without their fins. They didn’t see any alive,” she said. One of the divers provided a video that shows the finless bodies of dead sharks on the ocean floor.

Calculating an average of 200 sharks per boat, “our estimates are that as many as 2,000 sharks may have been killed,” Bessudo said.

Seeing dead, finless sharks littering the ocean floor has got to be a sight that no diver will ever forget. Not very encouraging. But when shark fins go for an estimated $125 to $415 per kilogram, it is pretty inevitable.

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