Costa Rica’s president, Laura Chinchilla, signed a decree that tightens controls on imports of shark fins, in order to combat illegal practice known as “finning”.
Chinchilla said “this practice, Costa Rica does not accept and want to send a clear signal of our opposition to such activities,” while signing the decree in the town of Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific coast of the country.
The decree states: “It is forbidden to import shark fins of any kind of other countries without proven by a certificate issued by the customs authorities of the country of origin, these were shipped fins naturally attached to the shark”.
Shark-finning is a practice in which fishermen cut off the fins of sharks, a highly sought after and valuable product in Asian markets, and then they throws the shark back to the seas while the shark is still alive, which gives them an agonizing death that have reduced populations of shark.
Chinchilla said fishermen shark-fin in Costa Rican waters and then transport the fins to neighboring countries where the fins re-introduced to Costa Rica through legal imports by land without major requirements.
According to the Government Decree solves this loophole by requiring customs certification stating that the fins are not the product of “finning”.
Months ago environmentalists noted that while Costa Rica has prohibited by law “finning” in its waters, there are large numbers landing on Costa Rica docks, merchants mocking regulations to import the product from another country.
Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy, René Castro, said today to reporters that the decree Costa Rica also makes “a call to the world that has neglected the oceans.”
He said it is estimated that in 2011 about 73 million sharks were victims of “finning” around the world and in Costa Rican waters that figure could reach 400,000.
In signing the decree, special guest billionaire and owner of Virgin Group, Richard Branson Briton, who often support causes for the environment and who weeks ago Chinchilla sent a petition to prohibit the importation of fins in Costa Rica.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica