This 1.5-tonne great white shark was caught off Taitung on Taiwan's east coast in November. (Photo/Chuang Che-chuan)
Taiwan's Fisheries Agency will consider adding the great white shark and basking shark to the list of fish that local fishermen are prohibited from catching, said James Sha, the director-general of the agency, on Wednesday.
Sha, responding to appeals by local environmental groups earlier Wednesday to protect the two species of shark, said the issue could be considered because the great white shark is not a main target of local fishermen.
Like the whale shark, the great white and the basking shark have been listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as endangered species, said Chen Yu-min, a director of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan.
Taiwan has prohibited the fishing, domestic trading, possession, import and export of whale sharks since 2007, but it has not implemented such an across-the-board ban on great whites or basking sharks.
Under current regulations, violators of the whale shark fishing ban face jail terms of up to three years plus a maximum fine of NT$150,000 (US$5,150).
The agency even offers a reward of NT$30,000 (US$1,030) for anyone who accidentally catches a whale shark and hands it over for scientific research.
The great white, whale and basking sharks have been listed among endangered species by CITES since 2004, which means fishermen are required to report any catches of the shark species to the relevant authorities.