Photos posted by Mohamed Samah, a surfer from Male’s eastern coast, showed sharks fins hung out to dry outside the living quarters of Chinese workers who built the Sinamalé bridge.
Accord to Samah, the workers were catching sharks from near the a Male surf spot for the purpose of obtaining fins even though there is a shark fishing has been banned in the Maldives since 2010.
Currently, it is unclear if there has been in any action for the violation as neither the fisheries ministry or the EPA has commented on the incident.
The Maldives was the second country to make its territorial waters a shark sanctuary as shark populations around the world have drastically dwindled due to multiple factors with shark finning being the most concerning.
Since the friendship bridge has began construction in the Raalhugadu, Maldive locals have been complaining about the impact of the bridge construction to the local waters including left over debris that has destroyed reefs. As well, sewage pipes from the Chinese living quarters set up were pumped out into the cities waters, according to local surfers.
The importance of sharks cannot be overstated due to them being a keystone species. Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean. In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem. Eco-systems in the past have collapsed due to the loss of sharks and in recent studies, areas that have had protections for sharks have not only seen shark species rebound, but almost every other species of marine life as well due to the balance sharks bring.