Texas Game Wardens say the probe into illegal shark fin soup uncovered dozens of incomplete shark carcasses.
Cases are pending against two north Texas businesses for illegal possession of shark fins to make and sell shark fin soup.
The law enforcement agency said its investigation began in response to a request from the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., to look into illegal possession and sale of shark fins for shark fin soup at local businesses.
“Shark fin soup is a traditional ceremonial dish in the Chinese culture,” the agency said in the field notes. “The wardens were asked to visit several restaurants in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that advertised shark fin soup on their menus. Shark fins are considered some of the world’s most expensive seafood and high demand for it supports a world-wide black market.”
NBC 5 in Dallas reported one of the businesses was J.S. Chen’s DimSum & BBQ in Plano. A supermarket nearby also was implicated.
According to TPWD, wardens did not see shark fin soup on the menu at the first establishment, but after inquiring with the hostess, they were given a special menu that included the item.
“The wardens acted skeptical about the authenticity of the ingredients,” the agency said. “The restaurant manager came over and assured them the shark fin soup was the real deal, and to prove it he escorted them to a walk-in freezer.”
There, they found six gallon-sized plastics bags containing frozen shark fin soup. The manager told wardens that the supermarket next door sold shark fins in its fresh seafood area, where six incomplete shark carcasses were found.
“The wardens asked to speak to the store manager and found him in a walk-in freezer trying to remove a box containing several other shark carcasses,” the agency said.
More were in the freezer.
In all, 38 incomplete shark carcasses were seized.