Shark Meat Used in Fishballs: Truck of Fishball Supplier Found with Cut-Up Thresher SharksJune 26, 2019
- Mia MarciWords
For the longest time, suspiciously cheap processed meats such as hotdogs, and fishballs were rumored to be from sharks. Rumors were proven true last Wednesday, when the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force, with the help of Capitol security, apprehended a truck with the chopped bodies of fourteen thresher sharks in Naga City. The truck was registered to a Tirso’s Fish Food Product from Barangay Basak in Lapu-Lapu City.
On the truck, the company’s name, and products were listed on one door. Aside from fishball, Tirso’s Fish Food Product supplied tempura, squid ball, squid roll, and kikiam. Diver, and marine biologist Gary Cases identified the cargo as two species of thresher sharks.
Officers at the scene found the meat packed in plastic bags, hidden by blue plastic boxes of other kinds of fish. According to the Cebu Daily News, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III was surprised by what they found, “I didn’t know that shark meat was being used for fish balls.” The fishball brand, according to a report in the Inquirer, is also sold in supermarkets.
The truck was caught at a checkpoint in Naga City, after a source tipped off the task force on the cargo. The driver, Allan Empinado of Cebu City, was accompanied by Gerry Atillo and Daniel Amistoso of Lapu-Lapu City. The three are now detained at the City of Naga Police Station. The three men may be charged for violation of the Republic Act 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code, and for violating a 2012 Cebu provincial ordinance on the hunting, capture, killing, or sale of thresher sharks.
Thresher sharks species are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The sharks are hunted for their meat, liver oil, skin, and for their fins. Their fins are favored for use in shark-fin soup.
While this is the most recently confirmed incident of shark meat used as fish balls, a video of sharks being sold as meat in the north Cebu town of Daanbanatayan went viral earlier this month.