The Ticotimes reports that President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica has signed a presidential decree that bans the practice of shark finning, as well as the importation and transportation of shark fins. The country has been used by fishermen operating throughout the area to land catches of shark fin, including those of sharks illegally caught in Marine Protected Areas like the Cocos Islands.
The new laws outlaw the practice of shark finning, make it illegal to import shark fins from any other country, states that all sharks must be inspected upon landing and the implementation of a strict zero-tolerance policy for any boats found transporting shark fins. Owner of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, was at the signing ceremony and, when asked about whether the justice system has the will to monitor the new decree replied:
“All of the young people I have spoken to in Costa Rica have been outraged for a long time about the slaughter of the species in the oceans,” and, “I think the public of Costa Rica will monitor it for the government.”