This photo released by Ecuador's Attorney General, shows hundreds of shark fins seized by the police in Manta, Ecuador, on May 27, 2015
Ecuador's Attorney General—AP
May 29, 2015 3:56 AM EDT

It’s a shocking image, but it only represents a fraction of the 200,000 shark fins seized Thursday by Ecuadorian police. They were about to be illegally exported to Asia.

The haul was uncovered in the port city of Manta, southwest of the capital Quito, and would have fetched up to $2 million had it reached its final market, reports the BBC.

Police raided nine locations and arrested six people, including a Chinese national, on charges of damaging wildlife.

The South American country’s Interior Minister José Serrano said authorities had “dealt a major blow to an international network that trafficked shark fins.”

The fins are often used to make shark-fin soup, considered a delicacy in most of China. But heavy demand from China’s increasingly affluent population, and brutal finning methods, have led to a decline in shark numbers and many countries have either outright banned finning or have heavily regulated the shark-fishing industry.

A tweet from what appeared to be Serrano’s Twitter account showed what looked like several photos of the grim haul, accompanied by a demand to put an end to criminal networks destroying the ecosystem.


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