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Coast Guard cracks down on illegal fishing of rare sharks

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Coast Guard officials in Taitung, Eastern Taiwan reported yesterday that a fishing boat has been found to have run counter to a ban on catching a rare shark species.

The officials said they were checking a fish market when they found the 31-kg shark on the deck of a Hsingang Harbor-registered fishing boat.

The shark was identified as an oceanic whitetip, a large pelagic species that inhabits tropical and warm temperate seas.

They reported that it was the third incident this year of fishermen being caught with this kind of shark.

Oceanic whitetip numbers are low, and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) announced a complete ban on taking them that began Jan. 1.

Taiwan has been working with the ban to step up a crackdown on such fishing.

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The photo shows Coast Guard officials standing over an oceanic whitetip shark lying on the deck of a fishing boat in Taitung, yesterday. Officials said that the fishing vessel had breached a ban on the catching of rare shark species.(CNA)

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