Shark Finning Mob Threatens Biologist

On Saturday, January 8th Costa Rican marine biologist and shark conservation activist Jorge Ballestero was threatened by a group of 5 individuals in Puntarenas when he responded to a call alerting the public that a large quantity of shark fins were being dried with apparently no regard for health or other operational permits at a dock located on the east side of the city’s Municipal Market.

Shark fins on drying racks and on the dirt floor in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Picture: William Flores

After locating the  fins, drying on racks and on the dirt floor, Ballestero tried to video tape the scene but was approached by the mob and forced to flee into the adjacent market before he could get a clear shot.  While in the busy market, Ballestero was apprehended, pushed, threatened, and told to give up his camera.  Fortunately a police car passed by the area and he was able to get the official’s (Carrillo and Casanova) attention.  At this point the assailants quickly abandoned their aggressive behavior and began blaming Ballestero for stirring up the trouble.  Incredibly, the officers sided with the aggressors and told him to present his ID and explain what he was doing in the area.  While this was going on, the officers did not let Ballestero turn on the camera to document the incident.  

The aggressive behavior from individuals involved in the shark finning trade in Costa Rica has already gotten more than its share of attention in 2011.  Most notable of these are the reported attacks on famous United Kingdom chef and television personality Gordon Ransay who, by his own account, was sprayed with gasoline and held at gun point while trying to film the illegal landing of shark fins at a private dock in Puntarenas for an upcoming T.V. show.   

Though Ballestero wasn’t able to get any of the events on video, Puntarenas environmentalist William Flores managed to record some material outside the same installations the day before (see below).
 
For more information:
Jorge Ballestero (2241-5227, 8704 8739) balles@pretoma.org

William Flores, (2664 2849, 8816 3326) ambientalista11@hotmail.com

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Comments
One Response to “Shark Finning Mob Threatens Biologist”
  1. Iain Ord says:

    Off the coast of Nosara there have been numerous long liners in close proximity night after night, they are decimating the fish stocks, as recreational fishermen we understand that local boats need to fish to survive but why are foreiegn vessels raping these fantastic waters.
    My point is this Costa Rica makes so much more money from visitors coming for the sportfishing, turtles, marine life than what the commercial longliners generate for the economy.
    Is it really worth the fast buck and then its all gone – Costa Rica has a long way to go before it can stand behind the so called “green” label it brags about, they let in Taiwanese, Venezuelan homever with no enforcement – its a joke.

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