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Great White Shark Finned in Mozambique

Image by Adam Baugh

The 28th of January was a sad day for Dive Instructor Adam Baugh at Guinjata Dive Center in Mozambique. He and others at the Resort witnessed the local fishermen pulling in a net with a two and a half meter juvenile female great white shark. Photographs were taken of the shark and of the finning process that ensued. The fishermen set gill nets directly in front of the resort. These thicker nets are not discriminatory and can catch everything from turtles and dolphins to smaller sharks, such as juvenile hammerheads caught the day before and photographed by Adam, and things as big as a whale shark, one of which was found in the area during November. Adam was able to extract a piece of tissue, before the fins were sold to Chinese buyers to feed the market for their shark fin soup. The demand for shark fins in Inhambane province is the primary concern here, not the incidental catch by the local community. The remainder of the carcass was brought to the local village. Rest assured the body was not wasted. The meat is used to feed the local community, however they are unaware that these top predators accumulate toxins, such as methylmercurys in the tissue and are actually poisonous to consume on a regular basis.

Images by Adam Baugh

We currently have several member from the community trying to determine who are the Chinese buyers in the area. With more information and photographs about the boats that are being launched to pull in the nets we can determine if the fishing and nets are legal. If there is any information about those who are taking the fins we may be able to slow the shark fin trade in Mozambique by eliminating some of the middle-men, and take this case to the national fisheries level. Please help us by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , posting on our facebook or calling at +258842059440, if you have any information, or witness more illegal catches of great whites, turtles, or any marine mammals.

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Great Whites in Mozambique

Great White Sharks are protected under Annex II of the Mozambican law set in 1999. This entails that under no circumstances can anybody be in possession of the meat, fins, nor teeth and jaws of this animal, such infractions can incur fines up to 10,000 MZN (~3,000 ZAR). Mozambique is also a signatory to CITES, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The great white is listed under Appendix II stating that any trade in great white products must be strictly observed and export permits are required. Whale sharks, basking sharks and large sawtooth sharks are also listed.

The sightings of great whites in Inhambane Province have been few and far between, however we have reason to believe that there have been increases in sightings. With added fishing pressure along the coastline, there have also been more incidental catches. In May 2012 a great white was brought in near to Coconut Bay, only a few kilometers from Guinjata. In July 2012 two sport fishing vessels in the same area reported sightings of great white sharks. Then, in October 2012 Brenda Fassie, a great white tagged by the OCEARCH research group, sent a 'ping' from her transmitter showing that she had been brought onshore by local fishermen south of Guinjata. The transmitter led Eyes on the Horizon representatives directly to the fishing camp. The satellite tag and information about the unintentional catch were all attained in the retrieval mission. If you'd like more information about the sharks' locations around the world follow the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker.

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