A Company In BC Was Caught Importing Over 20,000 Illegal Shark Fins Into Canada

They've been given a big fine.

Vancouver Editor
A Company In BC Was Caught Importing Over 20,000 Illegal Shark Fins Into Canada

A company in B.C. was just fined $75,000 after importing 20,196 shark fins.

The company, Hang Hing Herbal Medicine Ltd, pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully importing a protected shark species without a permit, according to the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.

The court also made the company forfeit the shipment of shark fins, which was a total of 20,196 shark fins, in 22 bags, that weighed about 550 kg.

The company imported the shipment into Richmond, B.C. on September 25, 2017, and claimed that the shark fins were fish bones.

After an inspection from wildlife enforcement officers, they found out that these were actually shark fins. They also did DNA testing on the shark fins, which showed that there were two species of shark among the fins — one known as the "oceanic whitetip shark."

This type of shark was added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora list, meaning you'd need a permit to import them. There were 12,984 fins from whitetip sharks and the company did not have a permit.

The other shark fins were from silky sharks, but the report specifies that this species was added to the CITES list in October 2017 — one month after the fins were shipped.

It added that there are only about 400 species of shark in the entire world, and many "shark populations are threatened, largely due to unsustainable fishing practices and the high demand of the international fin trade."

Although the import occurred in 2017, Hang Hing Herbal Medicine Ltd. was sentenced on January 17, 2022, to pay the fine. The company's name is also being added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Since the time of the import, laws have changed, though. In 2019, the "import of non-attached fins from any shark species," was prohibited by Canada's Fisheries Act.

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