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January 23, 2019

Carcasses of 250 endangered sharks seized in mid-sea interception

Agencies

Kendrapara, Jan 23: Indian Coast Guard personnel have seized a trawler carrying carcasses of around 250 endangered sharks during a mid-sea crackdown on illegal fishing in prohibited Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.

Seven crew members, all hailing from Andhra Pradesh, of the intercepted vessel were arrested and handed over to the forest department Tuesday, a Coast Guard official said.

The carcasses included bull sharks, spot tail sharks and hammer head sharks which were accorded endangered status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

These three varieties of shark are also categorised as threatened under the International Union on Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The dead sharks were very young, weighing around 5 kg each, the official said.

Commercial trade and hunting of these marine species are prohibited under the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna(CITES).

Rajesh Makwana, the DIG of Coast Guard, Paradip, said one of the primary reasons for catching sharks is shark fin soup is high in demand.

"We are investigating further on this," Makwana said.

When produced before a court in Paradip, the fishermen, who were arrested Tuesday, were remanded to judicial custody.

This is for the first time that shark species were seized from fishermen in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary limits, officials said.

The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is located in Kendrapara district along the eastern coast of Odisha. It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Mahanadi River mouth in the south.

Carcasses of 250 endangered sharks seized in mid-sea interception

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