Taiwan Supreme Court Upholds Fine for Illegal Shark Haul

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The Supreme Administrative Court in Taiwan has upheld a fine of NT$12.35 million (US$386,179) against the owner and captain of a fishing boat found carrying 38 tonnes of protected shark species and fins. The court rejected the appeal by the defendants, Hung Shu-ling and Captain Chen, who were convicted of violating fishing regulations. Two other ships, Jin Chang No. 21 and Sheng Ji Cyun, were also fined and had their fishing licenses suspended for possessing protected shark species in 2019. The Dong Cheng No. 368 boat had one of the largest illegal hauls of protected shark species and fins in recent years, including silky sharks, whitetip sharks, blue sharks, and longfin mako sharks.

The court ruling stated that Hung and Chen had failed in their responsibility to supervise and manage the crew, who specifically targeted the protected species. The court emphasized Taiwan’s obligation to comply with regulations and measures for fish stock conservation and management set by international fishery organizations. Taiwan has deep-sea fishing fleets operating in major oceans and is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and other fishery management organizations.

The illegal haul of protected shark species and fins on the Dong Cheng No. 368 fishing vessel led to a fine of NT$12.35 million for the owner and captain. This verdict was upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court, which rejected the defendants’ appeal. Two other ships, Jin Chang No. 21 and Sheng Ji Cyun, also faced fines and license suspensions for possessing protected shark species. The Dong Cheng No. 368 boat had one of the largest illegal hauls in recent years, including silky sharks, whitetip sharks, blue sharks, and longfin mako sharks. The court ruling emphasized the responsibility of the defendants to supervise and manage their crew, who specifically targeted the protected species. Taiwan, as a member of international fishery organizations such as the WCPFC, is obligated to comply with regulations for fish stock conservation and management.

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