Species-specific monitoring through large shark fin market surveys has been a valuable data source to estimate global catches and international shark fin trade dynamics. Hong Kong and Guangzhou, mainland China, are the largest shark fin markets and consumption centers in the world. We used molecular identification protocols on randomly collected processed fin trimmings (n = 2000) and non-parametric species estimators to investigate the species composition of the Guangzhou retail market and compare the species diversity between the Guangzhou and Hong Kong shark fin retail markets. Species diversity was similar between both trade hubs with a small subset of species dominating the composition. The blue shark (Prionace glauca) was the most common species overall followed by the CITES-listed silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), smooth hammerhead shark (S. zygaena) and shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus). Our results support previous indications of high connectivity between the shark fin markets of Hong Kong and mainland China and suggest that systematic studies of other fin trade hubs within Mainland China and stronger law-enforcement protocols and capacity building are needed.
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