Long Quan Seafood Corp., a Brooklyn-based business, has pleaded guilty to “Felony commercialization of wildlife” in what is a first for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation since the ban on the possession of shark fins came into effect last year.
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service has imposed a $10,000 fine after the seafood retailer was found to have been illegally selling the shark fins.
Over 73 million sharks killed every year for fins:
“This is the first successful prosecution under a New York State law that took effect last July banning the possession, sale, and distribution of most species of shark fins in New York State,” the Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said in a statement.
Currently, Federal law prohibits people from removing the shark fins while the shark is still alive, a controversial practice that is known as “finning.” Unfortunately, there are only a few states that have laws in place that prohibit the sale of shark fins.
Shark finning cruelty:
“Not only is the practice of finning a shark inhumane, but it negatively impacts the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem. We will not tolerate shark fin trafficking in New York State,” he added.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had alerted the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to a shipment that contained dried shark fins that was heading from the JFK Airport to the Brooklyn business in October of 2014.
Shark finning vs. shark fishing:
The USFWS and DEC police had determined the shipment included fins from blacktip reef sharks, grey sharpnose, broadfin, and hammerhead sharks, which are protected species. The fins originated from Hong Kong, but the company claims the fins came from South Africa, even though some shark species are not found in South African waters.
In Asia, shark fins are highly valued, as they have traditional medicinal applications and are also the essential ingredient for shark fin soup. The Save Our Seas Foundation has estimated that there are up to 73 million sharks killed annually as part of the international shark trade.