Chen Chieh 21

In May 2004, WildAid interviewed the Chinese Captain and crew of the Chen Chieh No. 21 in Puntarenas. All of them were from mainland China, the Captain being from Fujian Province.

However, the longliners belong to a Taiwanese company, targeting mainly tuna destined for Japan. They have 11 boats, 10 of which are fishing boats, one was referred to as a ‘delivery boat’. These boats go out on a rotational basis for a period of 3-5 months at a time. While the boat is at sea, a motherboat comes and collects their load every 20 or so days, to enable them to continue fishing.

The crew stated that, on average, they land about 80 tons of sharks per trip, although they have landed up to 200 tons, mostly of blue and silky sharks. When out on the high seas, they always fin sharks. Within Costa Rica’s waters they retain the shark, fillet the meat and use the meat as bait to catch more sharks. Only when the boat is on the return journey to port do they retain the whole shark.

The crew of the Chen Chieh No. 21 reported that they stored 100-200 whole sharks on their way back: the obvious conclusion is that these sharks formed the “top layer” in the rare event that an inspection was carried out at Caldera.