A shipment of 1,400 pounds of dried shark fins were seized at a Miami port, officials confirmed on Monday.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service said the shipment of dried fins arrived in 18 boxes and was believed to have originated in South America and likely bound for Asia, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy.
According to officials, the commercial value for the fins is between $700,000 and $1 million.
“It is very big money stuff. It is very harmful to the ecology,” said Bouncer Smith, a charter captain, to CBS Miami.
The wildlife department teamed up with Customs and Border Protection to make the Florida seizure on Jan. 24.
Officials are investigating the incident. No criminal charges have been filed as of yet.
Lawmakers in Florida have moved to outlaw the sale and possession of shark fins, which is already banned in 12 US states. The act of shark finning, which has also been illegal in the US since 2000, involves fishermen slicing the fins off live sharks before throwing the animals back in the water, where they usually bleed to death or suffocate from an inability to swim.
According to Wildaid, around 70 to 80 million sharks are used for their fins each year. Some reports say as many as 100 million sharks are harvested each year.