Dozens of Decapitated Baby Sharks Found Dumped on Beach, Investigation Launched

An investigation has been launched after dozens of decapitated baby sharks were found dumped on a beach in South Africa.

The sharks were found on Strandfontein beach in Cape Town over the weekend, according to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

The Cape Town-based animal shelter said in a post on Facebook that its inspectors were called to the scene on Sunday morning by police and Cape Town city officials.

The inspectors found a "large number" of deep water sharks—and all of them had their heads, dorsal fins and tails severed.

Dozens of baby sharks found dumped at Strandfontein Beach, Cape Town- parking next to 9miles. Heads, fins and tails have been cut off.

— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) December 15, 2019

Wayne Dyason, a spokesperson for Cape Town City Law Enforcement, told South African television station eNCA that officers arrived on the scene after being alerted to the "gruesome discovery."

He said Cape of Good Hope SPCA were called to the scene at around 9 a.m. Dyason added that authorities are not yet sure how the dismembered sharks ended up on Strandfontein beach, but the investigation is ongoing.

He said the sharks could have been fished out legally by a commercial boat and fisherman then dumped the parts of the sharks they didn't want.

"It's very difficult to say, this type of fish can be fished legally," he told the station when asked if poachers may have been involved in the incident.

"It could be that whoever the responsible people were had harvested these fish for the fins and then for some reason didn't need the rest of the fish and then just dumped it illegally, it could be as simple as that. Or it could be a case of illegal fishing, we just don't know."

Shark fins— considered a delicacy in some countries— are often prized by poachers as they sell for high prices on the black market, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA said.

"The circumstances around this incident is being investigated," the shelter said.
"Shark fins are targets for poachers as they fetch a high price on the black market. Shark fins are also used in delicacies overseas," it added.

Activist Yusuf Abramjee shared pictures of the shark remains on Twitter, prompting a flood of outraged comments. "This is appalling. We need to up security along the coast to prevent this happening again," one person said.

Another added: "Someone obviously did this for their fins and jaws and if they're found I hope they're prosecuted. The killing of these baby sharks was highly unnecessary and very sad."

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA, the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement have been contacted for additional comment.

Baby sharks
The remains of the baby sharks were found dumped on Strandfontein beach in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape of Good Hope SPCA