08/09/2010 - Six Yemeni fishing boats captured in Egyptian territorial waters in June might have gone unnoticed if not for their unusual cargo -- several kilometers of long lines and over 20 tons of dead sharks.
"The capture of these boats provided more evidence that a commercial shark fishery is operating in the Red Sea," says Amr Ali, managing director of the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), a local environmental NGO. "What's alarming is to see boats coming all the way from Yemen to fish in our waters. These boats don't have normal gear for catching fish -- they're only after sharks."
"In the last 25-30 years with wealth growing in China, demand has grown for shark fin soup, and with no limits on the number (of sharks) that can be caught, this has led to a dynamic in which 30 percent of the world's shark species are threatened," says Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group.
According to Rand, sharks are apex predators that play an important role in regulating marine populations. Studies have shown, for instance, a correlation between declining shark populations and the increasing frequency of jellyfish swarms.
Read the entire article Shark Slaughter Advances Into Red Sea on Inter Press Service's Web site