HomeNewsWhat Will Come of Peru Jailing Shark Fin Traffickers for First Time?

What Will Come of Peru Jailing Shark Fin Traffickers for First Time?


Peru has convicted shark fin traffickers for the first time in its history but more is needed to make a dent in this prolific illegal industry.  

On February 9, a court in the western town of Santa sentenced two people to four and a half years in prison for the attempted 2018 sale of a load of 1,800 kilograms of shark fins.

In mid-March 2018, environmental prosecutors stopped a truck traveling from Tumbes, a city on Peru’s northern Pacific coast, to the capital Lima. The truck held 51 bags of wrapped shark fins. A subsequent investigation found the fins were to be illegally sold by Jorge Roldan Angulo Sánchez, deputy manager of a seafood company, to a buyer, identified as Poly Diks Pinto Gonzáles, for the sum of $18,000. The fins were then set to be exported as legal animal product to Hong Kong.

The international organization Oceana, dedicated to the protection of the world's oceans, identified the seized fins and found that they belonged to six protected species, including hammerhead, pelagic thresher, smooth and silky sharks.

SEE ALSO: Peru Wildlife Agency Eases Export of Illegal Shark Fins

According to Oceana, the illegal shark fin trade in Peru is rampant. Much of the demand comes from China and other Eats Asian countries, where fins can be sold for around $700 a kilogram. In 2020, over 2.3 tons of shark fins were seized in Peru, as well as 28 tons of shark meat.

Many of these shark fins arrive in Peru from Ecuador, where shark fishing is completely prohibited and the sale of fins is only allowed if it can be proven the sharks were accidentally caught in fishing nets.

InSight Crime Analysis

While, on its own, this sentencing is unlikely to lead to a prolonged drop in Peru’s shark fin trafficking, there are several important points to highlight.

First, the sentencing sets a legal precedent in the country’s fight against shark finning. “This is a major success for Peru and it is crucial that judges have begun to understand that we’re dealing with species that play a critical role in our oceans,” César Ipenza, a lawyer specialized in environmental affairs, told InSight Crime.  

Second, this success can bring more attention to the high number of shark fins sent from Ecuador to Peru. According to Alicia Kuroiwa, director of threatened habitats and species for Oceana in Peru, the fins are wrongfully imported under the justification that they were accidentally caught during legal fishing, while they were intentionally caught.

The problem, explained Kuroiwa, is that Peru allows shark fins to enter the country from Ecuador with nothing more than an “incidental fishing” certificate, with no checks on the origins and no sourcing of the catch. They are often then included in loads of legally obtained fins.

“Essentially, Peru is laundering illegal shark fins from Ecuador,” Kuroiwa told InSight Crime.

SEE ALSO: Million-Dollar Seizure of Shark Fins Leads to Lenient Fine in Ecuador

Illegal shark fins also travel between Ecuador and Peru as contraband, camouflaged among fins of species whose trade is authorized, according to a report by Mongabay. The Ecuadorean town of Puerto Bolívar along the border is reportedly a center for the collection and transfer of illegal fins between the two countries.

Third, this case has highlighted the lack of control Peru has over transshipments carried out by foreign vessels in its own ports. Transshipment consists of transferring fish caught in international waters onto containers to be sent around the globe. Kuroiwa told InSight Crime that this is a window of opportunity for traffickers of shark fins and other illegally caught species since authorities only have the capacity to check a small percentage of containers.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


Mexico remains the main international provider of marijuana for the United States, but this has greatly diminished since 2013, forcing…


Six years after investigators in Peru took down a massive timber trafficking operation that shipped millions of dollars’ worth of…

ECUADOR / 16 MAY 2022

Ecuadorian gangs are taking another page from the playbook of crime groups in Mexico and Colombia, stepping up targeted killings…

About InSight Crime


Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.


InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.


Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …


InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…


Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…