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4 TRADE IN SHARK AND SHARK PRODUCTS


China has a long history of using sharks and their products but large-scale commercial exploitation of sharks, in particular significant international trade in them, is very recent. This may have been because of limited development of techniques of exploitation, utilization and harvesting and perhaps the socio-economic model adopted after the Second World War also contributed. The market economy introduced at the end of 1970s accelerated development and is highly focused on natural resources. Some traditional processing, transit, import and export activities have been stimulated. Table 12 lists the Chinese companies involved in international trade in shark produce.

The major imported shark products are shark-fins (raw material), frozen sharks (meat), fresh or chilled sharks (meat), sharkskin, shark cartilage powder or its prepared products and live sharks for exhibition in aquariums (very few). Other shark products, such as teeth and liver-oil, are believed to be imported in very small quantities. Prepared shark-fins are the major exported and/or re-exported shark products. Frozen shark and frozen shark products are also exported or re-exported. However, the survey found that there are only small numbers of factories engaged in processing sharkskins and skin derived products for re-exports and these are overseas investments or joint ventures. Although the volume of sharkskin exports is still very low, it is believed that this will rise as the requirement for the more integrated use of sharks increases at national and international levels. Up-graded management and formation of a marketing plan would promote this trend.

Table 4 Chinese imports and exports of fresh or chilled dogfish and other shark by country 1996-1998

Year

Country

Imports

Exports

Kilograms

Value in US$

Kilograms

Value in US$

1996

Total

30 208

251 605

0

0

Singapore

30 208

251 605

0

0

1997

Total

214 367

1 359 150

0

0

Singapore

136 351

942 274

0

0

Spain

78 016

416 876

0

0

1998

Total

69 500

623 604

0

0

Singapore

1 625

73 125

0

0

Thailand

96

2 062

0

0

Spain

67 779

548 417

0

0

Table 5 Chinese imports and exports of frozen dogfish and other sharks by country 1996-1998

Year

Country

Imports

Exports

Kilograms

Value in US$

Kilograms

Value in US$

1996

Total

454 993

3 124 375

83 854

4 605 569

Hong Kong

0

0

7 672

103 836

Japan

40 609

56 223

76 182

4 501 733

Singapore

25 120

359 015

0

0

Spain

389 264

2 709 137

0

0

1997

Total

362 924

352 844

13 485

588 941

Korea

150

180

0

0

Japan

362 774

352 664

13 485

588 941

1998

Total

243 490

1 757 437

41 505

2 273 172

Japan

143 887

1 169 031

41 505

2 273 172

Singapore

284

85

0

0

Spain

92 946

578 033

0

0

Norway

6 373

10 288

0

0

Table 6 Chinese imports and exports of dried shark fin by country 1996-1998

Chinese customs does not have a code for frozen raw shark fins so these are included here

Year

Country

Imports

Exports

Kilograms

Value in US$

Kilograms

Value in US$

1996

Total

4 362 543

24 485 694

2 191 750

22 443 703

Cambodia

0

0

600

930

Hong Kong

124 670

818 981

2 053 464

20 309 609

Indonesia

69 361

338 061

0

0

Japan

3 101 070

18 642 915

120 437

1 310 868

Macau

0

0

2 909

34 313

Malaysia

25 849

86 561

8

2 700

Philippines

7 923

208 015

0

0

Singapore

348 485

1 526 450

13 642

725 962

Korea Rep.

6 379

8 248

600

54 521

Thailand

28 715

91 800

0

0

Vietnam

44 783

475 987

0

0

Taiwan POC

60 422

203 957

0

0

Guinea

2 163

2 795

0

0

South Africa

91 672

329 679

0

0

Spain

424 051

1 608 828

0

0

Brazil

780

1 009

0

0

Costa Rica

6 885

39 729

0

0

Panama

437

4 812

0

0

United States

17 237

87 090

90

4 800

Others

1 661

10 777

0

0

1997

Total

4 388 801

24 794 029

2 420 488

32 654 143

Hong Kong

58 864

835 695

2 242 181

29 077 238

Indonesia

60 135

258 666

0

0

Japan

2 829 415

17 737 641

147 904

2 812 114

Macau

1 972

20 371

3 081

61 515

Malaysia

0

0

11 056

80 676

Philippines

6 553

169 242

12

30

Singapore

389 339

1 493 785

12 897

567 236

Republic of Korea

0

0

800

6 619

Thailand

6 656

30 315

0

0

U Arab Emirates

5 329

27 548

0

0

Vietnam

48 707

503 367

0

0

Taiwan POC

41 592

154 887

205

2 329

Kenya

555

4 916

0

0

South Africa

17 400

112 793

0

0

UK

11 604

47 666

0

0

France

0

0

133

10 421

Spain

833 938

3 173 081

376

7 395

Iceland

95

127

0

0

Brazil

1 736

2 243

0

0

Costa Rica

12 072

54 571

0

0

Ecuador

10 000

2 006

0

0

Panama

160

1 760

0

0

Uruguay

9 374

1 881

0

0

United States

1 332

7 465

1 843

28 570

Australia

2 267

10 249

0

0

Others

39 706

143 754

0

0

1998

Total

4 236 377

24 749 924

2 005 481

31 742 017

Burma

120

578

0

0

Hong Kong

46 435

246 196

1 930 412

30 550 920

Indonesia

67 905

288 500

0

0

Japan

2 697 768

18 603 993

51 001

697 223

Macau

0

0

922

19 862

Philippines

2 010

51 894

0

0

Singapore

297 068

1 275 919

21 942

431 281

Thailand

9

221

0

0

Vietnam

24 681

237 716

0

0

Madagascar

428

17 120

0

0

France

0

0

238

20 888

Spain

1 041 627

3 850 246

323

10 336

Norway

24 047

77 572

0

0

Brazil

1 282

11 541

0

0

Costa Rica

18 980

33 930

0

0

Ecuador

6 488

976

0

0

Peru

3 437

15 531

0

0

United States

1 906

22 344

629

10 852

Australia

8

35

14

655

Fiji

2 178

15 612

0

0

The figures in Table 4, Table 5 and Table 6 only give a generalised picture of China’s trade in shark products. The Customs Service of the People’s Republic of China has adopted the Harmonised System (HS) code for trade monitoring, controlling and record-keeping. Among thousands of codes there are only three specifically used for sharks and their products:

Table 7 Tariffs levied on shark products in China 1996-1999

Year

HS code

Reciprocal tariff (%)

General tariff (%)

Added tariff (VAT)(%)

1996-1997

03026500 1

30

40

13

03026500.9

30

40

17

03037500

30

40

17

03055920

55

80

17

1997-1998

03026500 1

30

40

13

03026500.9

30

40

17

03037500

30

40

17

03055920

55

80

17

1998-1999

03026500 1

15

40

13

03026500.9

15

40

17

03037500

15

40

17

03055920

30

80

17

Other shark-related products are included in the following codes, which are not specifically used for sharks:

Even the three codes that are specifically used for shark products are not itemised by species. In 1998 the Chinese government managed records of the import and export of all sharks and their products according to the relevant CITES decisions and recommendations[159]. The Shark Management Authority gave us some data for 1998 related to specific shark species. Due to lack of experience and problems with species identification this can only be used for reference, so that we can make a cursory review of shark species traded. See Table 8and Table 9.

Table 8 Commonly imported shark species

Scientific Name

English Name

Product

Country of origin

Imported from

Location of company

Sphyrna lewini

Scalloped hammerhead

Shark fin

Spain


Fujian

Prionace glauca

Blue shark

Sharkskin


Japan

Fujian

Prionace glauca

Blue shark

Sharkskin


Hong Kong

Fujian

Squalus acanthias

Spiny dogfish

Shark fin


Japan

Shandong

Prionace glauca

Blue shark

Shark fin

Indonesia, Peru

Indonesia, Peru

Guangdong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Japan

Japan

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Singapore

Singapore

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Spain

Spain

Shandong

Table 9 Commonly (re)exported shark species

Scientific Name

English Name

Product

Country of Origin

Re-exported to

Location of company

Sphyrna lewini

Scalloped hammerhead

Shark fin

Spain


Fujian

Prionace glauca

Blue shark

Shark fin

Indonesia, Peru


Guangdong

Prionace glauca

Blue shark

Shark fin


Japan

Beijing

Isurus oxyrinchus

Shortfin mako

Shark fin


Japan

Beijing

Squalus acanthias

Spiny dogfish

Shark fin


Japan

Shandong

Squalus acanthias

Spiny dogfish

Shark fin


Hong Kong

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Spain

Spain

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Japan

Japan

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Japan

Spain

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Singapore

Singapore

Shandong

Carcharhinidae

Requiem sharks

Shark fin

Singapore

Spain

Shandong

According to data collected by the Shark Management Authorities in 1998, almost all shark products are imported; only a small proportion being account for by local sharks. The countries of origin include Spain, some coastal countries in Southern Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, special administrative region of China. The destinations of re-exports include Japan, Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong. As significant difficulties arose in the collection of this data, with problems of management, statistical methods and check-back mechanisms, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. To avoid misleading, we have contacted some traders directly to verify or correct certain points and hope to reflect the actual situation as closely as possible.

It is impossible for us to give species-related trading data for all shark products because of these limitations but the data related to code 03055920 - Dried shark fin - can be used as an indicator to review shark trading. The total volume of shark fins imported in 1997 and 1998 were 4 388 801kg and 4 236 377kg respectively. The exports for these two years were 2 420 488kg and 2 005 481kg, so both imports and exports of dried shark fin fell. This may have been caused by the ongoing Asian economic crisis. In view of the difference in volume between imports and exports of shark fins in 1997 and 1998 and the weight loss which arises when shark fins are processed from raw materials to prepared products, we may conclude that the volume of imported shark fins for internal consumption is not significant. Domestic shark production that may be exported as shark fin products is also insignificant.

Twenty-seven Chinese aquariums were approached regarding imports of live sharks. It was found that only a small number of shark species and individuals have been imported for exhibition in Chinese aquariums. Specific data is provided in Table 10 and Table 11 for reference.

Table 10 Exhibition sharks available in Chinese aquariums

Name of Aquarium

Telephone Number

Sharks imported

Aquarium, Nine-dragon Amusement Park, Beijing

010-60713399

Yes, not specific

Aquatic Products Museum, Beijing Agricultural Exhibition Hall

010-65024428

No

Beijing Worker Palaestra Fuguo Sea-world, Beijing

010-65913397

Yes, not specific

Hydrophilic Creatures Exhibition, Beijing Nature Museum, Beijing

010-67024431-3076

Yes

Beijing Pacific Sea-world, Beijing

010-68461173

Yes

Guangzhou Oceanic Museum, Guangdong

020-87611884

Yes

Nanjing Sea-world, Jiangsu

025-4441119-

Yes, not specific

New World Aquatic Animal Park, Wuhan, Hubei

027-85877339

No

White-fin Dolphin Exhibition Hall, Wuhan Hydrophilic Creatures Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

027-87800371

No

Xian Aquatic Animals Palace, Shaanxi

029-2223510

Yes, not specific

Beidaihe Rare and Precious Aquatic Animal Hall, Hebei

0335-4041230

Shut down

Shanhaiguan Oceanic Aquatic Animal Museum, Hebei

0335-5052000

Yes, not specific

Xingao Sea-world of Qinghuangdao, Hebei

0335-8065699

Yes

Dalian Blue-Sea Hilly Village Aquarium, Liaoning

0411-7600266--

not connected

Underwater World of Tiger-beech Paradise, Dalian, Liaoning

0411-2684217

Yes, not specific

Sun-Asia Ocean World, Dalian, Liaoning

0411-4685216

Yes

Yunlong Lake Aquatic World, Xuzhou, Jiangsu

0516-5715624

Not connected

Orential Aquatic Animals World, Wuxi, Jiangsu

0518-5801424

No

Lingyan Temple Aquatic Insects Museum, Changqing, Shandong

0531-7463169

Not connected

Aquatic Animal Building of Oceanic Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, Shandong

-

No

Qingdao Ocean Product Museum, Shangdong

0532-2864949

Yes

Yangmadao Ocean World, Yantai, Shangdong

-

not connected

Zuohai Aquarium, Fujian

0591-7850178

Yes

Xiamen Sea-world, Fujian

0592-2067825

Yes

Beihai Aquatic Products Museum, Guangxi

0779-2062089

Yes

Kungming Aquarium

0871-5145684

not connected

Skyline Tropical Ocean Zoo, Sanya, Hainan

0899-8910128

not connected

Table 11 The origin of exhibition sharks in Chinese aquariums

Scientific Name

English Name

Number of sharks

Source

Carcharhinus melanopterus

Blackfin shark

15

South China Sea

Chiloscyllium plagiosum

White-spotted catshark

19

North China sea area, South China Sea, 5 imported from Hong Kong

Chiloscyllium griseum

Blackband cat shark

9

South China Sea

Ginglymostoma cirratum

Nurse shark

20

South China Sea

Ginglymostoma ferrugineum

Rusty Shark

6

South China Sea, 3 imported from United States

Nebrius macrurus

Large tail shark

5

South China Sea

Negaprion queenslandicus

Queensland Lemon Shark

3

Imported from HK SAR

Orectolobus japonicus

Japanese carpet shark

8

South China Sea

Stegostoma fasciatum

Zebra Shark

10

South China Sea, 2 imported from Hong Kong

Triaenodon obesus

Blunthead shark

7

South China Sea

Triakis scyllium

Banded gummy shark

167

North China sea area

Triakis venusta

Spotted smooth dogfish

7

North China sea area

Total

276


The conclusion is that few live sharks are used for exhibition or public education programmes in Chinese aquariums. Although some aquariums have not been contacted and the above figure may not be exact, we believe that this does reflect the current situation of trade in live sharks.


[159] CITES Decision 10.48 - Regarding the biological and trade status of sharks (To Parties) CITES Decision 10.73/74 - Regarding the biological and trade status of sharks (To Animal Committee) CITES Decision 10.93 - Regarding the biological and trade status of sharks (To FAO) CITES Decision 10.126 - Regarding the biological and trade status of sharks (To Secretariat)

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