Shark Fishing in the Lawless Pacific

The Pacific Ocean is a far frontier, where rule of law is scarce and those who might otherwise hide in the shadows can operate in broad daylight. Shark poaching is an easy, lucrative business here.

Nowhere else in the world has a higher abundance of sharks than the marine corridor between Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. And where there are sharks, there are people hunting sharks for their valuable fins.

Every year, nearly half a million sharks are fished for their fins along the continental shelf of Central America, causing 90 percent declines in the populations of some species. And while many people fish sharks, one family in particular dominates the industry with a fleet of hard-to-locate vessels, and dozens of shell companies responsible for processing and exporting shark products around the globe. This is Grupo Wang.

But the Wang brothers don’t get their hands dirty. They send others to hunt the sharks. And the story of those fishermen may be just as tragic as the story of the sharks they hunt.


Hunting the Ghost Fleet

PRX reporter Sarah Blaskey and photojournalist Ben Feibleman dive into one of Central America's largest shark-fishing operations in this episode of Reveal.