Japanese boat owners charged with helping smuggle shark fins
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. prosecutors in Hawaii are accusing the owners and officers of a Japanese fishing boat of helping Indonesian fishermen smuggle nearly 1,000 shark fins, worth about $58,000 on the black market.
Boat owners Hamada Suisan Co. Ltd. and JF Zengyoren, or Japan Fisheries Cooperatives in English, are charged with aiding and abetting the smuggling. Ten fishermen have been charged with smuggling.
A Hamada representative in Japan said Friday that the Indonesian crew members had shark fins without the captain’s knowledge.
JF Zengyoren declined to comment, saying it hadn’t seen the complaint.
It’s against U.S. law to remove the fins of sharks at sea. Prosecutors say the fishermen harvested fins from some sharks that were still alive and then discarded in the ocean.
Fins are a pricey delicacy often used in soups.