Sunday, November 30th, nearly 80 kg of shark fins were seized in Port Gentil by the Judicial Police. Two Nigerian nationals, Abel ABAKA Joseph and WONIOWEI Igbosu were arrested and held in custody before being presented to the prosecutor’s office to answer for their actions.
Fishery resources are the responsibility of the Directorate General for Fisheries and Aquaculture, which must monitor this type of case to verify the origin and destination of the products sold illegally or not.
The exploitation of sharks is not prohibited but requires authorization and payment of relevant fees as any other type of fishing. However, given the pressure on sharks, the permissions for the fin trade are no longer produced by the administration. The fin trade is stopped but that does not stop trafficking to continue.
The fins represent only 3% of the weight of sharks, but the illegal trade is focused on these high-valued parts that are intended for the preparation of soups in Asia. Many fishermen reject live sharks to the seas after cutting off their fins. They inevitably die for a huge waste.
Furthermore, the illegal trade of shark fins has created enormous pressure on fragile shark populations. Some estimates consider that over 100 million sharks are killed annually in the world. In recent decades, many shark species involved in the trafficking of shark fins and are endangered have already lost more than 50% of their population, or even 98% for some species!
The role of sharks in the oceans is nevertheless capital by regulating certain species. The historic decision of the Head of State to create marine parks and to protect and sustain manage fisheries resources was praised by the international community at the last summit in Australia, which has just ended. Gabon is still full of exceptional fauna and flora but is also a target for all kinds of traffickers. The fight against trafficking of natural resources including fisheries resources should be intensified. This starts with a strengthening of the legislation.