Large numbers of sharks are killed off the coast of Angola so that their fins can be sold to China. The complaint from the environmental organization EcoAngola led the Angolan authorities to announce an investigation on Wednesday.
Last week, EcoAngola posted on its social networks, videos and images of dead sharks, without fins, rotting on the beach, in the commune of Cacuaco, on the outskirts of Luanda, and in Benguela, and called for an investigation .
The first complaint, according to the organization’s publication, was on September 12, when an anonymous call was received that reported stingrays and sharks being cut to remove fins, with the fish thrown out. A few days later, videos and photographs were sent to prove the complaint.
We have already informed the competent authorities of this situation. We hope that a national declaration will be issued and that an investigation will be carried out by the entity responsible for investigating environmental crimes. pic.twitter.com/oRFX0ERFub
– EcoAngola ?????? (@EcoAngola) September 17, 2020
“It turned out that many sharks were indeed caught on purpose and just to remove the fins,” confirmed the agency Lusa Érica Tavares, general manager of EcoAngola, an organization that has been in operation for a year.
According to information received by the organization, shark fins are purchased by Chinese nationals and it is not possible to determine the number of sharks killed.
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“We know that it is an exotic product in Asia, that the shark fin soup was made, because it is believed to have medicinal virtues, aphrodisiac powers”, declared Érica Tavares.
However, underlines the executive director of the NGO in Lusa, the medicinal benefits of shark fin “are a myth” which “is not scientifically proven”. In addition, continues the ecologist, “this amount of shark overfishing can cause a major imbalance in marine flora and fauna, because sharks are predators and they manage to control populations of other types of species.”
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On Wednesday, the Institute of Biodiversity and Conservation Area confirmed to Lusa that an investigation is underway to exterminate sharks in the country.
The director of this body, which is part of the Angolan Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Environment, confirmed the complaint lodged by EcoAngola and admitted that Angolan authorities had suspected this type of practice for some time, however, they had not yet received any complaints, despite the fact that at Luanda airport several arrests were made to “people who had large boxes and bags of shark fins”.
“We knew that some Asian citizens, mainly Chinese, were involved, and this denunciation, at that time, confirmed what we were predicting,” admitted Albertina Nzuzi, director of the Institute for Biodiversity and Area Conservation.