Kuwait Dive Team (KDT) urged all relevant authorities to tighten control over irresponsible and greedy fishermen who catch sharks to get and then trade in the valuable fins in Gulf markets.
"These acts have grave impact on the maritime environment," KDT's External Relations Official Dhari Al-Huwail told KUNA Sunday.
Al-Huwail pointed out that the team has received a number of complaints from the public about shark finning activities off the coast of Fahaheel.
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins while the remainder of the living shark is discarded in the ocean. Sharks returned to the ocean without their fins are often still alive; unable to move effectively, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die of suffocation or are eaten by other predators.
"This irresponsible act tantamount to a crime against the environment," Al-Huwail said, adding that shark finning breaches the Kuwait-signed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Al-Huwail warned that a recent study has showed that world's shark populations are experiencing significant declines with perhaps 100 million -- or more -- sharks being lost every year.
Sharks have persisted for at least 400 million years and are one of the oldest vertebrate groups on the planet, but their population declines significant enough to cause global concern, he said.
According to the study, the biggest culprit in the significant population decline is a combination of a global boom in shark fishing -- usually for their valuable fins -- and the relatively slow growth and reproductive rates of sharks.
Al-Huwail unveiled that the Kuwait Dive Team has organized a number of shark-saving operation in Kuwait territorial water recently.
Kuwait Dive Team is a group of dedicated divers and marine life specialists who are working tirelessly and voluntarily to protect the marine environment of Kuwait. They have been awarded many times for their work.
Al-Huwail stated that Kuwait joined CITES in 2002, has been the coordinator of the convention in the Arab region since 2006. Kuwait is also representing Asia in CITES Standing Committee.
The (CITES) adopted in March 1973 to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. The goal of CITES is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of any species.
Since 1973 the number of state parties to the convention has grown to more than 170. CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
In addition to plants and animals and their parts, the agreement also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as clothing, food, medicine, and souvenirs. By 2009 more than 5,000 animal and 28,000 plant species had been classified.