Dead sharks tell no tales – but a man who went to jail for shipping them has told his.
A crew member of the Chinese vessel caught off the coast of Ecuador last year with over 6,000 sharks onboard has admitted that his company had caught the fish, solving the months-old mystery of how the carcasses had ended up onboard a storage ship with no fishing equipment in the first place.
The loot of the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, intercepted within the Galapagos Marine Reserve in August 2017, had included baby sharks and endangered species. Its crew was sentenced by an Ecuadorean court to prison terms and a multi-million dollar fine for illegally transporting wildlife.
Galapagos authorities and China’s Ministry of Agriculture initially said the catch had been obtained from two Taiwan-flagged fishing vessels.
But a Caixin investigation at the time showed there were no registered vessels in the world fitting the description given by the authorities, and instead pointed to the involvement of Fuzhou Honglong Ocean Aquatic Products, a company registered in Fujian province. Fuzhou Honglong denied at the time that it had caught the fish.
Huang Zhiqiang, who returned to China recently after a year in an Ecuadorean prison, has confirmed that “the Taiwan boats were a fabrication.”
“The sharks on board (the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999) had been caught by Honglong,” he said, referring to the company's fleet of fishing vessels.
Detailed coverage to come on Caixin Global.
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