India in third position in Shark hunting

India takes the third position in shark hunting in world ranking after Indonesia and Spain. India comes third with an average catch of 67,391 metric tonnes each year from 2007 and 2017, according to a report of TRAFFIC, a wild life monitoring group.

In India, only catching protected sharks are illegal whereas other sharks can be hunted down.

In the report, it has been noted that Indonesia hunted the most with an annual average of 1,10,737 Metric tonnes. Spain had netted 78,443 Metric tonnes of shark. In the 2013 TRAFFIC report, India stood at second position in terms of shark catch between 2002 and 2011 and Spain was in the third position. Now the two countries have reversed their positions.  

The report said that Shark fin consumption in East Asia was a key driver of the trade. The Shark Fin is widely taken as soup in East Asia region. It has been reported that an average of 16,177 metric tonnes of shark fin products are imported per year. In terms of imports, Hongkong reported the largest with an average of 9,069 metric tonnes of fin during the period. Malaysia, China and Singapore were next to Hongkong in fin imports with 2,556 metric tonne per year, 1,868 metric tonne per year and 1,587 metric tonne a year respectively. Brazil, Spain, and Italy were the largest importers of shark meet.  

The report says that Blue Shark catch rose steadily from late 1990s. When the average shark catch was 81,437 metric tonne in 2008, it was 130,000 metric tonne in 2011.  Though there was a steady rise in Blue shark catch to 137,973 metric tonne in 2013, there was a decrease in 2017 and the total average catch of blue shark was reported to be 103,528 metric tonne.  The report has attributed the decrease in the catch to the decrease in population of blue shark as there was no restriction on the catch.

In terms of silky shark, the report says that the catch has seen a decreasing trend in regions where it has been widely hunted since late 1990s. When the catch was totalled at 25,000 metric tonne in 1999, the average catch had fallen to 4,610 metric tonne in 2010 and further down to 632 metric tonne in 2017.  Though Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have prohibited Silky Shark catches, this is not prohibited in the Indian Ocean.

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