Indonesia World’s Top Shark Killer: FAO

Indonesia World’s Top Shark Killer: FAO
Photo Credit:Malkusch Markus@Flickr CC BY 2.0

What you need to know

Indonesia remains the largest killer of sharks in the world, despite declining demand for shark fins in China and Hong Kong, the two largest consumers of shark fins.

Indonesia is the world's No. 1 killer of sharks, according to a report by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report, “State of the Global Market for Shark Products,” shows taht Indonesia’s shark fishing industry accounts for 13 percent of the world’s total, with India coming in second at 9 percent. An average of 109,000 metric tonnes of sharks were caught in Indonesian waters between 2000 and 2011.

Sharks are hunted mainly for their fins, which are considered a delicacy by ethnic Chinese around the world. China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are the main consuming countries.

Although Indonesia has banned the fishing of certain shark species, Greenpeace Indonesia reports that between January 2013 and March 2015, the value of exports of shark fins from Indonesia surpassed US$2 million.

Taiwan remains the fourth largest shark fishing country, accounting for 5 percent of the total. In February, heaps of shark carcasses were found with their fins cut off in Hsinchu. The discovery prompted the EU to issue a yellow card against Taiwan.

Campaigns to stop consumption of shark fins are helping raise awareness among younger Chinese, and shark fin sales have been declining. The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Hong Kong reported a 30 percent drop in shark fin imports in 2013. Sales of shark fin in Guangzhou, China’s main shark fin trading hub, also decreased by up to 82 percent in 2013, Time magazine reports.

Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou (周杰倫) has joined the fight to stop the consumption of shark fins, endorsing WildAid’s 2016 campaign and starring in a series of advertisements urging people to stop eating and purchasing shark fin.

Sharks take a long time to reach sexual maturity and reproduce, leaving them vulnerable to overfishing, according to WWF. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year, and 73 million of those are killed for their fins.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole