The Spanish police have seized 11 tonnes of shark fins in destined to be shipped to Hong Kong.
According to a statement from the police, the shark fins did not appear to come from a protected species but were found in a warehouse that lacked authorization to export shark fins.
The confiscation took place in Huelva in south-western Spain, to where the fins had been transported from a port in Galicia in the north-western part of the country.
The shark fins have an estimated value of 136,800 Euros (186,335 USD). European Union countries are the main exporters of shark fins to China.
In many markets, shark meat does not yield a high price and fishermen therefore normally remove the fin from caught sharks and let the shark back to the sea. Without its fin the shark can no longer swim and will sink to the bottom where it either dies from suffocation (sharks need to swim to breathe) or gets eaten alive by other aquatic animals.
In parts of Asia, shark fins are used in folk remedies and to make traditional shark fin soup. As the standard of living rises in China, more and more people can afford to purchase shark fins and one pound of dried shark fin can now retail for over 300 USD.