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Indonesian fishermen charged with smuggling NZ$85,000 worth of shark fins in US

Indonesian fishermen charged with smuggling NZ$85,000 worth of shark fins in US

Four Indonesian fishermen who were arrested in Hawaii and charged with attempting to smuggle shark fins have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Court records show the four men pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge that they attempted to export the fins. A judge sentenced them to time they already served in jail.

Six others who were charged with smuggling are expected to plead guilty to the same charge and receive the same sentence later today.

The owner and officers of the Japanese fishing boat they were working on have been charged with aiding and abetting the trafficking and smuggling of shark fins.

A cooperative the boat belongs to is also charged.

It’s against US law to remove the fins of sharks at sea. Prosecutors say the fishermen harvested fins from some sharks that were still alive and then discarded in the ocean.

US prosecutors in Hawaii previously accused the owners and officers of the Japanese fishing boat of helping Indonesian fishermen smuggle nearly 1,000 shark fins, worth about $58,000 on the black market.

Boat owners Hamada Suisan Co. Ltd. and JF Zengyoren, or Japan Fisheries Cooperatives in English, are charged with aiding and abetting the smuggling.

Ten fishermen in total have been charged with smuggling.

A Hamada representative in Japan said today that the Indonesian crew members had shark fins without the captain’s knowledge.

JF Zengyoren declined to comment, saying it hadn’t seen the complaint.

It’s against US law to remove the fins of sharks at sea. Prosecutors say the fishermen harvested fins from some sharks that were still alive and then discarded in the ocean.