Since trade data may be the most viable option for monitoring global harvest levels, accurate reporting in the markets is critical for marine conservation, for sharks and all other commercially valuable species, said Shelley Clarke, lead author of the recently published Trade in Dried Asian Seafood. Improved monitoring at the local level in key seafood trading centers like Hong Kong is the key to correcting inaccurate information used to manage (or regulate) fishing levels.
Focusing her research efforts in the hubs of the Asian seafood market, Clarke selected marine species that could be quantified with trade records, a list that includes sharks, abalone, sea cucumbers and others. The study found major discrepancies between the reported numbers of shark fins (a major delicacy in Asian cuisine) in Hong Kong and its key trading partners, particularly mainland China, which does not record products imported from Hong Kong for processing. Clarke estimates that other jurisdictions may be under-reporting trade quantities between 24-49 percent compared to Hong Kongs quantities.
Clarke also compared her adjusted local trade estimates with existing regional and global databases, both of which are used to monitor worldwide trade and manage populations. Regional organizations such as the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) were found to be more accurate than FAO data, but limited to only a few countries. SEAFDEC also lags behind other data sets by a few years. Other discoveries include the fact th
Contact: Stephen Sautner
Wildlife Conservation Society