A large haul of illegal shark fins bound for the Philippines were seized by custom agents in Manzanillo, Colima in Mexico on Monday.

The fins, which amounted to about 10.4 tonnes and were estimated to value nearly 4 million pesos (US $210,000), were discovered in 509 crates by customs officials and navy. Though export of shark fins in Mexico has been prohibited for a long time, it is still part of the top 10 countries where sharks are captured and killed.

(Photo from Mexico News Daily)

104 out of 500 shark species are actually found in Mexican waters.

The fins are considered the most valuable part, which is why it can be sold and bought for as much as US $1,100 per kilogram. Fishermen captures the shark, cut off its dorsal fin and throw the “still-living” creature back into the water where it dies from bleeding.  That process is called “shark finning.”

Shark fins are popular among Chinese people, who use it in their popular dish called shark fin soup. Just like pangolin scales and rhino horns, they also believe the shark’s fin has medicinal properties.

Close to 100 million sharks are known to be killed by humans every year, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

Related stories:
– About 100 sharks washed up dead, their fins ripped off
– Scientists develop new tool to track illegal trade of sharks
– Save the sharks! Protecting sharks and rays in the Philippines