Leopard shark post on the Internet prompts investigation

The recent post of the selling of Leopard shark meat at a restaurant in Phuket has prompted the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to investigate and find the owner for prosecution as the shark is a rare species which is facing distinction.

But the probe revealed it was an old picture two years ago and the restaurant owner admitted that his daughter bought the sharks from fishermen two years ago.

This was revealed by the department's director-general Mr Jatuporn Burutphat after the post went viral on the the social media last week.

Mr Jatuporn admitted that at first sight of the post, it was unacceptable for restaurant to sell shark meat.

He said authorities were then dispatched to the restaurant Champ Seafood in Phuket but found nothing went wrong as what were posted.

No shark meat was sold but the restaurant owner admitted that his daughter bought fishes from a fishing pier at Ko Sirae two years ago. But he said the sharks were among the cache of fishes bought, not knowing there were rare sharks among other fishes in the same cache.

He admitted that he also didn't know the law prohibits the sale of leopard sharks.

The department's chief said that no legal action was taken against the owner because there is a loophole in the law governing the protection of rare marine life species.

However he said that the restaurant owner promised to cooperate with authorities to refrain from selling shark meat.

He said authorities also inspected several restaurants on Phuket beaches and sought their cooperation to not selling shark meat as they have information that some business operators in Phuket, Krabi and Surat Thani are still selling rare animal species as food.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)