Taiwan investigates allegations in NGO report to ensure the implementation of shark conservation and management measures
Following a report by the UK non-governmental organization (NGO) Shark Guardian, entitled Endangered Sharks for Sale—Taiwan’s Dirty Secret and published on November 29, 2021, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan on December 2, 2021 responded to claims made in the report by explaining our nation’s policy on shark conservation and management, the legislative processes involved, and the results of law enforcement actions. The Fisheries Agency also clarified that Taiwanese firms’ domestic sale and international export of shark species listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are classified as normal business practices, provided that these practices conform to international norms as well as domestic regulations. (https://is.gd/naMHjV )
Upon learning of the allegations made in the report by Shark Guardian, the Fisheries Agency immediately opened an investigation. To address the report’s claim that Taiwanese companies are selling products made from protected shark species which are caught under legally dubious circumstances, the Fisheries Agency requested that the companies in question provide information in order to substantiate the report’s claim, and has completed an initial inquiry into suggestions that Ocean Treasure Co., Ltd., is selling fins from the shortfin mako shark, a shark species listed in Appendix II of CITES. The Fisheries Agency found that since 2019, when the shortfin mako shark was listed in Appendix II, Ocean Treasure Co., Ltd., has indeed exported and re-exported shortfin mako shark. With currently available transaction records, the Fisheries Agency examined the company’s catch certificates for trade management, CITES export (and re-export) permits, customs declarations, and other relevant documents, which confirmed that those shortfin mako sharks caught by the company’s Taiwan-flagged fishing vessels were caught legally in compliance with relevant domestic and regional fisheries management organization regulations, that the catch exported and re-exported by the company was accompanied by CITES export permits issued by the exporting country, and that the company applied for and was granted export and re-export permits from the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, in line with the procedures stipulated in Taiwan’s Regulations on Import and Export of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna, Flora and Related Products, all without any suggestions of irregularities and in compliance with the requirements established by CITES. On top of that, the Fisheries Agency will continue to investigate the legality of the shark fin supply chain.
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan reiterates that Taiwanese firms which export shark species listed in CITES Appendix II, or products containing those shark species, must abide by the provisions of CITES as well as domestic regulations in Taiwan, a standard which is in line with international norms. The Fisheries Agency continues to examine the trade information of other firms involved, and will compile data from other agencies, including catch origin, merchandise movement, and customs declarations, in order to clarify whether other firms accused in the report have sold illegally caught sharks. As to the report’s other allegations regarding Taiwan and the shark fin supply chain, the Fisheries Agency will investigate these claims individually and announce further findings as these investigations warrant.
The Fisheries Agency emphasizes that Taiwan has consistently worked to fulfill its responsibilities as a state involved in the seafood trade and as a flag state of vessels engaged in deep sea fishing, and is actively working to prevent our nationals from engaging or being involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity. We will continue working to ensure the operations of our deep sea fishing vessels comply with international norms, carry out measures to conserve and manage sharks and other marine resources, and cooperate with the international community to jointly preserve the sustainable use of marine resources.
Contact Person: Deputy Director-General Kuo-Ping Lin