September 18, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Indonesia’s Newly Minted Investigators to Go After Illegal Fishing Kingpins


September 1, 2021

Indonesia is scaling up its fight against fisheries-related crimes, going beyond boat crews to target the ultimate beneficiaries of these illegal practices. The country’s fisheries ministry announced the move in the wake of a Constitutional Court decision in June that allows civil servants to investigate certain criminal acts.

A 2020 paper by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy says the perpetrators behind organized crime in the fisheries industry are companies with complex operational activities in many countries. Some of these crimes are corporate in nature, as in the laundering of criminal proceeds through offshore financial centers where ownership can’t be traced.

Marine observers have praised the ministry’s pledge to target beneficial owners in fisheries crimes, calling it an important step in cracking down on the practice. For a long time, the only people who faced any kind of prosecution for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing were typically the crews of the vessels caught in the act; the owners of the vessels, where they could be identified, avoided any kind of punishment.

In 2018, the fisheries ministry submitted amendments to the fisheries law to parliament, calling for those changes, among others. But with both parliament and government preoccupied with campaigning ahead of elections the following year, the bill was never passed.

Commentaries of IALA

Indonesia the world’s largest island country, located in Southeast Asia, and consists of more than 17 000 islands, and has one of the richest fisheries in the world, but the industry remains hard to regulate, both legal and illegal. In 2016, the Indonesian government founded the International FishFORCE Academy of Indonesia (IFFAI), which provides training for prosecutors and judges in fisheries law to encourage them to pursue the maximum punishment allowable against vessel owners in order to create a deterrent effect. The country has the Fisheries Law that contains the provisions on fishing and aquaculture activities and that also does not allow any activities that would harm the aquatic life and the environment, however, lots of cases of illegal activities are still being documented, so the established program shall help ensure the protection of aquatic species in the country, with the help of concerned and interested citizens.

Read our blog on Fishing and Aquaculture in Indonesia here.

New Study on Animal Cruelty in Hong Kong by HKU Law Faculty and the SPCA (HK) Finds Mongrel Dogs Are the Most Common Victims of Animal Cruelty


September 4, 2021

The Faculty of Law, the Univesity of Hong Kong (HKU), and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong) (‘SPCA (HK)’) publish a new study on animal cruelty cases in Hong Kong.


The one-year study looked into animal cruelty cases in the SPCA database from 2013 to 2019. Most cases involved traumatic physical injury or neglect by the animals’ owner or family members. The majority of neglect cases involved dogs abandoned inside private premises without food/water. In nearly all cases the animals were found abandoned inside village houses their owners had rented. In many cases, the owners were not living with their animals. In nearly one-third of cases, the animals died.

In 20% of cases, owners who abandoned animals avoided prosecution because they could not be located within the 6-month time limit to be charged by police. Most cases involved stray dogs which had been collected by persons who did not have sufficient financial resources or time to care for them adequately. In two significant cases, where dogs had started to eat each other to survive, more than 100 animals had been collected by the offenders and placed in so-called rescue shelters. The shelters were accepting animals from members of the public in exchange for donations.

Commentaries of IALA

This study covers 335 recorded cases of animal cruelty in Hong Kong from 2013 to 2019. The cruelty behaviors are divided into 6 categories according to the types of abuse: “active maltreatment, passive neglect, commercial exploitation, hoarding, poisoning, and trapping”. Among the cases, there are 118 cases of active maltreatment (traumatic physical injury) to animals, and 102 cases involving passive neglect or ignorance. Around 60% of the cases resulted in prosecution. Dogs were the primary victims in all categories of abuse. Read the full report here.

Komodo Dragon Reclassified as Endangered


September 6, 2021

The IUCN has announced that the Komodo dragon has been reclassified from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List, due to the impacts of climate change and habitat loss due to human activities.

Rising global temperatures due to climate change will result in higher sea levels, and modeling has predicted that the suitable habitat for the Komodo dragon will decrease by 30% in the next 45 years. Komodo dragons outside of the protected areas in Flores are also threatened by ongoing human activities, such as agricultural expansion, that result in loss of suitable habitat.

Commentaries of IALA

The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest living lizard that can be found in Indonesia. According to the last assessment by the IUCN Red List, the population of Komodo dragons is now approximately 1383 mature individuals. These lizard species, like many other wildlife species, are susceptible to the climate crisis that is caused by deforestation, animal agriculture, etc.

Currently, at the international level, this species is listed under Appendix I of CITES, which implies that commercial trade of the animal, their skin, or specimens is prohibited. However, there were still some illegal cases documented - the most recent was in 2019 when the police in Indonesia reported that a criminal network had been caught trying to smuggle 41 young Komodo dragons out of Indonesia.

Japan’s Controversial Annual Dolphin Hunt Begins


September 9, 2021


The Japanese town of Taiji’s controversial dolphin hunt is now started, and fishermen have caught at least seven bottlenose dolphins so far in a hunting season expected to last until March 2022. The hunt, operated by the Isana Fishermen's Association, has a catch quota of 1,849 dolphins from nine species that the Japanese government has permitted to be killed or captured this season. They include bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, melon-headed whales, and Risso’s dolphins. Some are caught and sold to marine parks and dolphinariums, mainly in Japan and China, and several hundred are slaughtered for meat, according to the Dolphin Project.

The hunt has attracted global condemnation since 2009, when the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove revealed how Taiji fishermen round up hundreds of dolphins, forcing them into the cove, where they’re captured or slaughtered.


The Taiji government did not respond to National Geographic’s request for comment but has previously defended the hunt in other media as a 400-year-old cultural tradition. A dolphin can sell for $500 for its meat, but a live bottlenose dolphin for the dolphinarium trade can bring $8,000 to $12,000.


For a variety of cultural and legal reasons, public protest is less common in Japan than in some other countries. Foreigners often protest the hunts with bloody and graphic imagery. Meanwhile, Japanese-led protests, more restrained, are becoming increasingly common. This year several dozen Japanese animal advocates protested in Taiji on the first day of the hunt carrying signs with messages such as, “Let dolphins swim free” and “Love all animals.”


Commentaries of IALA

From September to March, during the 6 months each year, the hunting activities for dolphins are carried out by fishermen legally with the permits authorized from the government, the Japan Fisheries Agencies. The captured dolphins may either be sold alive to aquariums and marine parks or slaughtered for their meat. Besides, the fishermen also hunt the dolphins for the reason of “as a form of pest control.” Dolphin Projects listed 3 reasons for ending the Taiji Dolphin hunt, that is “dolphin hunting is not for subsistence or survival”, “dolphin hunting is not traditional”, and “dolphin hunting is driven by profit from the captivity”. The public shall know the importance of dolphins to the whole marine ecosystem and the cruelty behind the aquariums and the food industry. Learn more about the Taiji Dolphin Hunting by DolphinProject here.

Read our blog on Taiji Dolphin Hunt here.

Court Stops Government from Importing Elephants, Terms Move in Violation of Country’s Laws, CITES


September 10, 2021

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has stopped the government from importing elephants, declaring it a violation of laws related to the protection of wildlife.


In this case, the petitioner through Advocate Ali Raza has sought a general ban on the import of endangered species including elephants. The petitioner had submitted that the government had failed to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012.


The animal import is governed under the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012, but he would furnish a report before the court to detail procedures for the import of elephants.

In its order, the court has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to ensure that the import of elephants is not allowed in violation of the Act of 2012 read with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the conditions prescribed under the Import Control Act 2020.

Commentaries of IALA

The import of animals is regulated under the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012. According to Article 6, the import into Pakistan of any specimen included in any Appendix shall require (a) the export permit on a re­ export certificate issued by a designated authority; and (b) an import permit or no objection certificate issued by the Management Authority.

An import permit shall be granted on fulfillment of the following conditions:

(a) the Scientific Authority has advised that the import shall be for purposes which are not detrimental to the survival of the species involved and to other indigenous species of fauna and flora;

(b) the Scientific Authority is satisfied that the proposed recipient of a living specimen is suitably equipped to house and care for it; and

(c) the Management Authority is satisfied that the specimen is not to be used primarily for commercial purposes.

65 Jindo Dogs and Puppies Are Rescued after Notorious South Korean Dog Meat Farm Closes for Good


September 11, 2021

A dog meat farm on South Korea’s famous Jindo Island, which for more than 20 years bred and slaughtered Jindo dogs for human consumption despite them being the country’s national dog breed, has closed its doors for good after coming to an agreement with Humane Society International/Korea and Korean animal protection group LIFE. The 66-year-old dog farmer Mr. Kim, who also runs a local restaurant where his dogs were on the menu, was found by local authorities to have breached the Animal Protection Act by killing dogs in front of each other after concerned residents reported hearing dogs vocalizing in terror on the farm. Instead of setting up business elsewhere, the farmer signed a contract with LIFE to give up dog farming forever and agreed to remove dog meat from the menu at his restaurant.

After coming to an agreement with Humane Society International/Korea (HSI/Korea) and Korean animal protection group LIFE, the farmer signed a contract to give up dog farming forever and agreed to remove dog meat from the menu at his restaurant. LIFE and HSI/Korea saved all 65 Jindo dogs and puppies found languishing in small, wire battery cages on the farm.

Commentaries of IALA

While only a small minority of South Koreans consume dog meat, dog meat farms and slaughterhouses are still found active in the country. Presently, only Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has banned the operation of dog meat farms, but it does not apply to other small towns of the country where dog meat farms are popular and where the majority of those farms are located. Also, the survey indicated that 84% of South Koreans reject eating dog meat after the HSI South Korea’s rescues of dogs from the farms. While the dog farming industry directly violates the Animal Protection Law of the country because of the cruelty component, the enforcement of the law is shown weak. However, the recent news about South Korea’s granting legal personhood to animals gives some hope to all animals in the country.

Read our blog on Animal Law in South Korea and Dog Meat Farming.

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