Recent shark hunts by China-based Pingtan Marine Enterprise have highlighted the need for independent monitoring by NGOs, said Sea Shepherd in a blog post on Earth Island's website.
In Timor Leste law shark hunting is illegal, but that didn't prevent the firm from sending vessels out to the country's waters recently to illegally catch thousands of sharks, it alleged.
In September Sea Shepherd caught 15 vessels filled with thousands of sharks, using gill nets to land-internationally protected endangered species. "Banned from hunting for sharks in Indonesia's waters, these shark-hunting vessels prey on Timor Leste, an impoverished country with no resources to patrol or regulate their waters."
Pingtan Marine Enterprise, listed on the US NASDAQ exchange, has been banned in the past from fishing in Indonesian waters. The company did have fishing licenses from the Timor Leste government, but not for shark hunting, said Sea Shepherd.
It also claimed the same fleet of illegal shark fishing vessels were caught in August 2017 in a restricted marine sanctuary near the Galapagos Islands. "Though the crew was arrested, the private company still thrives on breaking international laws to feed the demand of the shark fin industry."