More evidence that shark finning happens everyday in Costa Rica

According to the Ecuadorian press, the captain and crew of the Costa Rican fishing boat Rosa 1 were arrested last week for illegal fishing activities in the Galapagos Island Marine Reserve, Ecuador.  Ecuadorian officials announced that the boat was carrying no less than 75 “finned” sharks.  Costa Rican fishing law states that all sharks must be landed with their fins naturally attached to their bodies.  Since the boat is Costa Rican, it’s logical to assume that it will eventually land its cargo in Puntarenas.  Costa Rica’s Fisheries Institute, Incopesca, asures that it inspects 100% of fisheries landings as a way to prevent shark finning from happening in this country.  But how effective is Incopesca’s system of inspection?

A Costa Rican longline fishing vessel (Picture: WWF)

Other related cases:
In 2008, sacks of shark fins were found aboard the Kendy and the Franju III after they were spoted illegally fishing in the Cocos Island National Park’s Marine Protected Area.  When the two boats arrived in Puntarenas the fins were no longer onboard.  As the law only stipulates that fins be attached to the shark’s body when they are landed, and it does not prohibit the transportation of fins separated from bodies, no legal action was taken.
Indonesian/Costa Rican citizens Dian (23) and Fajar (36), international fishing vessel slaves that were freed by Costa Rican authorities at the Imperio Pesquero del Pacífico dock, explained to the Tico Times newspaper on June 4, 2010 that fishing crews rutinly fin sharks as the product represents and pay bonus for the crew.  The fishermen even showed a personal video to the press of crewmembers finning the animals.

Hammer Head shark school (Sphyrna lewini)


Shark finning happens day in and day out in Costa Rica.  Quite simply, Incopesca lacks the initiative to enforce the law.  In fact, fisheries inspectors do not even have the authority to implement fishing regulations as they must first ask permission from the private dock owners before performing their inspections.

2 Responses to “More evidence that shark finning happens everyday in Costa Rica”
  1. Bob Smith says:

    I am a travel agent that is ill advising travel to Costa Rica because of the support your government has for Taiwanise shark finning operations or illegal fishing period. Firstly, the last thing our delicate planet needs is an Asian aphrodisiac at the expense of animals. They have a population problem now – do you get my drift – think about it! Sharks supply balance to the oceans that provide you and me with the oxygen necessary to survive. Can I advise your government to provide the leadership necessary to illegalize this form of barbarism? Employ the citizens of your country to clean up and recycle the millions of plastic bottles blanketing your roads, waterways and country side. Again, I have many photos of the shark killing and pollution ignored by your country to show my customers as I ask them why on earth would you want to go there?

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