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Costa Rica Bans Exportation of Shark Fins

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"At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, President Laura Chinchilla, flanked by Environment Minister René Castro and noted conservationist and owner of Virgin Records Richard Branson, signed a decree that bans the practice of shark finning, as well as the importation and exportation of shark fins."

 

From: http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/News-Briefs/Costa-Rica-bans-the-practice-of-shark-finning_Wednesday-October-10-2012

 

This is fabulous news! Fishermen, particularly Taiwanese fishermen, have long been exploiting loopholes in Costa Rican laws by using ports such as Puntarenas to land their fin cargoes, some of which included sharks caught in and near protected marine reserves such as Cocos Island. Assuming CR enforces this ban I'm sure the fishermen will move to other countries to export their catches but the more difficult it becomes for them, the fewer sharks will die--I hope.

 

-Gina

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More links: http://www.herald.ie/breaking-news/world-news/branson-lauds-shark-fin-trade-ban-3257063.html

http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog/historic-day-in-costa-rica "Also spoke with the Minister about supporting manta rays being protected under CITES. There is a UN CITES meeting in March, at which he will support the protection of the manta rays as well." :-)

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The Cocos Islands has always been my home away from home and have dove there 13 trips that I have led since my first time there in 92. It has long been a World Heritage Site and yet remains unprotected from the shark finners and long liners. There is only 1 small craft, the Marveva, that is to be used to protect the islands but more often than not, it is at anchor not being used. My last trip there, it never left anchor even once. On that same trip, our skiff rode out to Alcyone but had to cancel the dive as the line leading down was so wrapped up in new long lines as to make the descent downright dangerous. All one has to do is go to the ships control room and look at the radar at night and you will see up to 20 different craft waiting to come in under the dark of night to set their lines and do their dirty deeds. Costa Rica has notoriously avoided confrontation and has been egregiously ignoring the enforcement of their own laws. For those going to dive the Cocos, if you do it at the right time of year, you will have fantastic time. That said, over the last 20 years I and many of my returning guests have witnessed the decline of marine life there, and in some cases, whole species have disappeared i.e.. Silvertips at Silverado.

Sadly, I hate to be the cynic here but I doubt there will be much improvement, but the ecological grandstanding by some organizations and individuals will continue.

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