Sheng Siong frees injured shark

Activists upset shark was put in small tank after being purchased
Jennani Durai Straits Times 26 Jan 13;

A SHARK kept in a small tank at the Sheng Siong supermarket in Clementi was released back into the wild, a day after animal activists began campaigning for its freedom.

A photo of the approximately 2m-long leopard shark - held in a tank barely bigger than itself - circulated on social media on Thursday, and was shared nearly 500 times by last night.

Activists from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) and Shark Savers were even willing to buy the shark's freedom from the supermarket. But a Sheng Siong spokesman said yesterday it was not for sale or consumption.

In fact, the supermarket's intention was to "nurse it back to health" and release it back into the sea, and it did so yesterday morning.

The group's managing director, Mr Lim Hock Leng, said that Sheng Siong's "seafood team" had spotted the shark at Jurong Fishery Port on Tuesday, along with the rest of the day's catch from Indonesia.

"When we saw the shark, it was not doing very well, possibly due to some injury sustained," he said. "So, we bought the shark with the intent of protecting it from harm and nursing it back to health."

Sheng Siong's Clementi Avenue 1 branch was chosen for the shark's rehabilitation, as it had a temperature-controlled glass tank, and the outlet was near the fishery port.

Plans to move the shark to a bigger pool at the port were foiled when the pool was found to be in use.

The supermarket then decided to release the shark.

Mr Louis Ng, Acres' executive director, said this was not the first time that the supermarket chain has incurred the wrath of animal rights groups.

Other sharks had been on display in the past, he claimed, and the supermarket used to have a practice of leaving live fish out on ice to die slowly.

These cases were reported to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which had in turn informed the supermarket chain to be more humane in its practices.

Mr Ng added: "I hope they sought a veterinarian's advice to make sure the shark was fit for releasing. Otherwise, I'd question if it was safe to release it after putting it through a lot of stress and then releasing it with the same injury it was found with."

An AVA spokesman said leopard sharks are not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Imports are allowed for local sale as long as they are handled by AVA-licensed seafood importers.

No comments:

Post a Comment