Sharkfin 'kingpin' sentenced for violating protection laws

A so-called “shark fin kingpin” was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Atlanta to five years probation and fined $5,000 for violating federal wildlife protection laws.

Mark L. Harrison, 48, of Southport, Fla., represented himself as the nation’s largest shark fin buyer, saying he bought and sold millions of fins since opening his business 20 years ago, according to federal authorities. The fins are used to make shark fin soup, a centuries-old Chinese delicacy.

In August 2007, Harrison tried to ship through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at least 211 fins from three species of protected sharks. Authorities said that Harrison dried his fins on open air racks or on tarps laid on the ground, leaving the fins exposed to bird droppings, insects and dogs.

“Hopefully, this sentence will raise public awareness of how unlawful commercialization impacts certain species of wildlife,” said James Gale, special agent in charge for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s office of law enforcement.

As part of his sentence, Harrison was ordered to take out an advertisement in a publication with a large circulation in the fish industry about complying with shark fin reporting requirements.

Oceanic Defense Response to Sentencing:
"Although we are happy that this man was finally caught it is an insult to the millions of sharks that he has murdered to fuel the shark fin soup trade. The ridiculous penalty of $5000 is nothing compared to the profit he made from the flesh of these protected and endangered sharks.

The courts have not deterred one poacher in the illegal shark fin trade with this type of a sentence. In reality they might as well have said: Go ahead, continue to kill sharks, just remember to put another $5000 in the fin jar."


  1. This type of crap needs to stop...!

    Much harsher punishment is needed, but do the authorities really care about the sharks?

  2. Absolutely RIDICULOUS sentence! How are things going to change if this is all the "authorities" do in the way of punishment for these heartless money grubing murderers. If it's ALL about the DOLLARS then that is where they should be HIT HARD when they are PROVEN GUILTY! 5,000 MEASELY DOLLARS?! Are you KIDDIN ME!? This is an OUTRAGE! I am sick of reading about these profiteers getting away with the MURDER of these sharks at EVERYONES EXPENSE! What can we do as individuals to see that this changes? ANY suggestions... ANYONE?

  3. If it was up to me he would have to 'walk the plank'....but he should have at least been sent to prison for a long time.

  4. We suggest:
    1st offense) loss of captain's license permanently. Minimum $50,000 fine for first offense. Fleet & all equipment confiscated. Banned from any fishery for life.

    2nd offense) minimum $250,000 fine. Mandatory 5 year prison sentence.

  5. They should cut his arms and legs off and dump him overboard. Just say that he must pretend to be a shark!

  6. I really start to loose faith in our governments when they do this crap. I'm soooo tired of hearing we need to GO GREEN, when they can't get their crap together. The only way this will end is if the people stand up like our grandparents did to stop whaling.