At VIFreepBreaking NewsBusiness NewsCaribbean NewsEnvironmental NewsSint Maarten News

Banned Shark Fin Items Being Routinely Sold In Sint Maarten Supermarkets


PHILLIPSBURG — The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has uncovered numerous shark-related products, including shark fin soup, being sold at various establishments around Sint Maarten.

Over the past few weeks, the foundation made an inventory of shark products being sold at restaurants, supermarkets and individual stores at various locations.

“Unfortunately, we have found different products containing shark being sold on our island, including shark fin soup, shark steaks, shark liver oil, shark cartilage pills, ray wings and shark oil. There is no accepted scientific evidence showing any positive health benefits of shark fin soup or shark products, like liver oil and cartilage pills,” the Nature Foundation said in a press statement.

“The promotion of these products is a marketing strategy; in fact studies show that shark has among the highest levels of the toxic methyl-mercury and other dangerous toxins which can cause serious health effects. Even small quantities of shark meat can contain large quantities of poisonous methyl mercury. Warnings are issued especially for pregnant women and young children.”

Globally, human pressure has resulted in 100 million sharks being killed annually, primarily for products such as the ones uncovered by the Nature Foundation. The cruel act of finning sharks, which often involves cutting the fins off of live sharks, and selling shark products, is pushing sharks to the brink of extinction, including in the waters surrounding Sint Maarten:

“We have been partnering with the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. and the Pew Charitable Trust to find out whether or not the products are made from local St. Maarten sharks. This is very important because since October 12, 2011, it is prohibited to wound, catch, land, or kill sharks, rays and skates in the territorial waters of St Maarten. So if genetic results come back positive for sharks caught in local waters, laws were broken,” the Nature Foundation stated.

Sharks are not frightening or dangerous but an important contributor to the ecosystem and important to the local community as they attract valuable dive tourism. Sharks also keep the reefs clean of unhealthy fish, keeping the ecosystem in balance.

“If we do not have sharks we will lose our coral reef ecosystem and everything which depends on that such as fisheries, dive tourism, beach tourism and the very things which make us a unique island in the Caribbean,” the Nature Foundation said. “Unfortunately, of the thirty three shark species living in the Dutch Caribbean, a third is categorized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable to extinction, another third is near threatened, and four species are already (critically) endangered with extinction.”

The Nature Foundation advises the public not to purchase any shark product and requests stores and restaurants to stop selling any shark product. The foundation will be issuing official letters to stores and restaurants in this regard.

As part of the Save our Sharks project there is also an online petition running, encouraging local decision-makers to increase conservation measures for local sharks and to ban the selling of shark products.

The petition can be signed at:

Previous post

Jabari Blash Isn't The Only One Out In Left Field For The San Diego Padres

Next post

VIPD Says 'Combative' Woman Who Died In Police Custody Was Killed By Injuries Inflicted By Others

The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *