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Feb 03, 2014 11:44 AM EST

Environmental Group Behind "The Cove" To Use Footage From Chinese Shark Slaughterhouse In Upcoming Endangered Species Documentary

The academy award winning documentary, "The Cove," which filmed dolphin herding and slaughtering in a small Japanese coastal town, and the recently uncovered endangered shark "slaughterhouse" in China aren't just similar environmental tragedies, but investigations conducted by some of the same people, including the organization behind "The Cove" (the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS)) and the film's director, Louie Psihoyos. Once again, the environmental/film group will produce a feature-length documentary, directed by Psihoyos.

Psihoyos, in addition to OPS undercovers Charles Hambleton and Heather Rally, Hong Kong NGO activists Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford of WildLifeRisk, and an anonymous interpreter, posed as members of an international seafood company and met with the factory's owner, Li Guang, according to the press release.

In the meeting, which was taped, Guang openly provided details of his illegal operation, such as smuggling shark oil (but labeling it as fish oil) to destinations around the world, including Sri Lanka. At one point, he grabbed a container of oil and said, "this is basking shark," one of six federally protected species as part of CITIES, or The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora  agreement, which China is a signatory.  (Li's factory is also catching and killing at least two other species on that list, whale sharks and great white sharks.)

"The scale of this operation is staggering. Thanks to the work of WildLifeRisk and others that have to remain unnamed to continue this dangerous and important work, we have a real shot at shutting Mr. Li down," Psihoyos said.

"How these harmless creatures, these gentle giants of the deep, can be slaughtered on such an industrial scale is beyond belief. We firmly believe the trade must stop, and it must stop now, or else these animals will eventually face extinction," Hofford and Hilton said.

Parts of the multiple year-long investigation will be included in OPS' next movie, "The Heist," set to release next year. Unlike "The Cove," "Heist" will tackle a broad range of topics related to situations like the slaughterhouse and endangered species in general.

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