The Government of Costa Rica declared zero tolerance to shark finning, in a ceremony held this morning at Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos. There, with the presence of environmentalists, the President of the Republic, Laura Chinchilla, signed an executive order. Under this order, imports of shark fins into the country will be banned. Shark finning practices were already forbidden in the Costa Rica territory and waters.
As explained by the President, the decree is due to environmental, economic and social reasons: “It is a practice that Costa Rica does not accept and we want to send a clear signal on our opposition to such activities,” said Chinchilla.
This is an environmentally unsustainable practice because overfishing and other abuses are evident. Shark populations are migratory and are endangered in many countries. In the past, Costa Rica promoted its inclusion in CITES Annex II, which limits trade of endangered species.
In economic terms, shark finning only uses from 2 to 5% of the body mass, while the rest is wasted. Fins have good prices in Asia, but profits are temporary and fictional, due to high probability of shark population disappearance.
Socially, shark is a traditional food source for many people from the coasts. They are deprived of this option when the “shark finning” practices is used to storage space in a more efficient way and injured sharks are thrown back to the oceans). Reduced shark populations force subsistence fishermen to sail form many hours in their search for food.
The decree signed by the President of the Republic, Laura Chinchilla, will come into force once published in the official newspaper.
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