Arab butchers fined for illegally dealing in shark meat

Arab owners of a butcher shop in Jerusalem were fined for engaging in the illegal sale of shark meat.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court recently convicted the Arab owners of a butcher shop in Jerusalem who engaged in the illegal trade and sale of shark meat and fined them NIS 20,000 ($5,500).

On March 28, 2017 police became suspicious as shop employees pushed a cart to the Damascus Gate, an entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, with four dead sharks.

Following the seizure, inspectors from the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority launched an investigation, following which an indictment was filed against the defendants for possession and illegal trafficking of protected natural assets.

At the end of the legal proceedings and as part of a plea bargain reached between the parties, the defendants admitted to the offenses.

“Sharks are defined by the law as a protected nature asset, and their population in Israel is in danger of extinction,” said On Valensi, supervisor of enforcement and investigations at the Nature and Parks Authority’s central district.

He said his teams are operating in a variety of ways, including through enforcement activities at sea and with the merchants and owners of fish restaurants, public information activities for fishermen and sailors, as well as legal action and proceedings against offenders.

Shai Peretz, a criminal lawyer at the Authority’s legal bureau, added that “these are defendants who have harmed protected and rare natural assets for the sake of money, and the court’s punishment, therefore, focused on imposing fines … Our hope is that the court will continue to worsen the punishment and neutralize the economic incentive of those who commit such offenses.”