Whale sharks have no chance of survival if they stay close to one Chinese business. A four year investigation found that Pu Qi factory in China’s Zhejiang Province slaughters about 600 whale sharks every year to make oil for cosmetics and health products.
Even though trade of the whale shark items is allowed through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Hong Kong based marine conservation organization WildLifeRisk discovered that there is a booming international market for items being created by the Pu Qi factory.
"The products derived from these protected species are being exported to the United States, Canada and Italy, in contravention of the internationally-binding CITES agreement," the group said in a statement. The written announcement goes on, urging people to boycott products which have whale shark in them and to demand for authorities to take action against the illegal trade of it.
"We are calling on China’s regulatory authorities to enforce the international agreements on this illegal activity now, before these animals are brought closer to extinction," Alex Hofford and Paul Hilton of WildLifeRisk said, “If we hope to save species such as the whale shark from extinction, we must hold individuals accountable for their violation of international protection laws and demand transparency so that consumers can make informed decisions about the products they buy.”
According to the conservation group, there are other advantages to putting an end to the whale shark trade once and for all. Diving and tourism are just two activities which could become a lucrative opportunity for communities near the sea creatures. Shark tourism accounts for close to $50 million on a yearly basis on a global scale as pointed out in a report from the Pew Environment Group.