After three years of investigation, the organization WildLifeRisk has published a report confirming that an illegal shark harvesting company in China is slaughtering up to 600 internationally protected whale sharks per year.
After a three year investigation, the organization WildLifeRisk has published a report detailing a factory in China that is illegally processing up to 600 internationally protected whale sharks per year. The sharks are reportedly slaughtered and obtained through a network of fisherman and middle men.
Each shark can generate 30 thousand dollars in income.
The meat and fins are typically sold to restaurants and the skins go to manufacturers, often in the handbag trade.
Oils that are extracted from the sharks’ livers are used in several products including cosmetics and nutritional supplements.
In addition to whale sharks, they were observed processing great whites and basking sharks, both of which have been classified internationally as a protected species with strict trade and harvesting regulations.
The company was also discovered to be selling the shark products abroad.
Their activities violate Chinese laws and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement the country has signed.
The undercover investigators were able to gain the confidence of the factory’s general manager by pretending to be buyers.
They were given access to the facility and were able to take both audio and video recordings of the illicit activities going on within it.