The Species and Origin of Shark Fins in Taiwan’s Fishing Ports

paperPublished on 22. January 2016

The Species and Origin of Shark Fins in Taiwan’s Fishing Ports, Markets, and Customs Detention: A DNA Barcoding Analysis

Po-Shun Chuang, Tzu-Chiao Hung, Hung-An Chang, Chien-Kang Huang,
Jen-Chieh Shiao


The increasing consumption of shark products, along with the shark’s fishing vulnerabilities, has led to the decrease in certain shark populations. In this study we used a DNA barcoding method to identify the species of shark landings at fishing ports, shark fin products in retail stores, and shark fins detained by Taiwan customs. In total we identified 23, 24, and 14 species from 231 fishing landings, 316 fin products, and 113 detained shark fins, respectively. All the three sample sources were dominated by Prionace glauca, which accounted for more than 30% of the collected samples. Over 60% of the species identified in the fin products also appeared in the port landings, suggesting the domestic-dominance of shark fin products in Taiwan. However, international trade also contributes a certain proportion of the fin product markets, as four species identified from the shark fin products are not found in Taiwan’s waters, and some domestic-available species were also found in the customs-detained sample. In addition to the species identification, we also found geographical differentiation in the cox1 gene of the common thresher sharks (Alopias vulpinus), the pelagic thresher shark (A. pelagicus), the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), and the scalloped hammerhead shark (S. lewini). This result might allow fishing authorities to more effectively trace the origins as well as enforce the management and conservation of these sharks.

PLoS ONE 11(1): e0147290. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147290



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