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Odisha: Over 250 endangered sharks seized, 7 arrested

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Kendrapara: The Indian Coast Guard today seized a trawler carrying over 250 endangered baby sharks and arrested seven fishermen for poaching the marine species near Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara district off Odisha coast, an official said.

“We intercepted the trawler on the night of January 22 within the marine sanctuary and found around 250 dead Bull, Spot Tail and Hammerhead sharks  from the its storage room,”  said Bhutanath Mahato, Coast Guard Commandant of Paradip.

All the seven arrested fishermen were booked under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Mahato added.

It is suspected that the arrested persons were running an export racket as the trade in shark fins (removing the fins while the shark is alive), which are in high demand for culinary use in many countries.

In India, sharks are prohibited for export.

To save sharks, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change listed ten species in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby according them the highest degree of protection.

Since 2013, India has banned all types of shark finning. A rule by the Ministry of Environment also says that any possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body of the shark, would amount to hunting of a Schedule I species.

It is important to keep in mind that when shark population decreases, a ripple effect can impact the ocean ecosystem.