B.C.-based company fined $60K for importing thousands of fins from threatened shark species

·2 min read
Silky sharks are named for their smooth skin. International trade is a major threat to the species, as it is 'one of the three most traded shark species in the global shark fin trade,' according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. (Shutterstock / Shpatak - image credit)
Silky sharks are named for their smooth skin. International trade is a major threat to the species, as it is 'one of the three most traded shark species in the global shark fin trade,' according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. (Shutterstock / Shpatak - image credit)

A B.C.-based company has been fined $60,000 for illegally importing thousands of dried fins from a threatened species of shark from Hong Kong to Canada.

Kiu Yick Trading Co. Ltd. tried to import 13 boxes of silky shark fins without a permit as part of a bigger shipment in February 2018, according to the federal government.

Silky sharks are a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Officials estimated the 13 boxes were filled with fins from up to 3,185 individual silky sharks.

"This amount is believed to be the largest forfeiture of shark fins in Canada to date," according to a statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

The statement said the company had declared only fins from blue sharks in the shipment, which are not protected by the convention. Federal enforcement officers seized nearly half of the shipment to test the fins' DNA to confirm the species.

More than 65 per cent of the fins came back as silky shark. The rest were from blue sharks or shortfin mako sharks.

A box of dried silky shark fins is pictured after being seized from a Vancouver-based company, Kiu Yick Trading Co. Ltd., in February 2018.
A box of dried silky shark fins is pictured after being seized from a Vancouver-based company, Kiu Yick Trading Co. Ltd., in February 2018.(Supplied by Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Kiu Yick Trading was fined Tuesday after pleading guilty in provincial court to unlawfully importing a CITES-listed species without a permit.

International trade poses a major threat to silky sharks. The species is "one of the three most traded shark species in the global shark fin trade," according to CITES.

The species was listed on CITES' "Appendix II" list in late 2017, meaning there is a risk the species might be threatened with extinction unless trade is regulated.

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