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Hundreds Of Taiwanese Citizens Call On Costa Rica To Protect Sharks; 'A Horrid, Extremely Horrid Practice'

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SAN JOSé, Costa Rica -- Last Friday, a petition was delivered to Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, with the signatures of 380 Taiwanese citizens calling for a complete ban on the importation of shark fins and other shark products. The signatures include staff of the Taipei local government, folks from a Taipei-based Christian church, elementary school students, and many more. The signatures were compiled by Shanon Lee, lecturer at the prestigious National Chiao Tung University.

"We, concerned citizens of Taiwan, are appalled by Taiwan government's indifference to the illegal finning activities of its fleets overseas in Nicaragua and Costa Rica" denounced Lee. "We do not care for shark fin soup and consider it a horrid, extremely horrid practice, and the Government of Costa Rica has our full support to kick the fleets out!"

While the citizens of Taiwan express their concern over shark finning by their fleets in Costa Rica, Incopesca authorizes the importation of shark fins from Nicaragua by land through Peñas Blancas. Since December 1st, date since which the foreign fleets are obligated to abide by the law and land their products in the public dock of Puntarenas, Incopesca confirmed (DM-08-016-11) that is has authorized the importation of 15000 kilos of shark fins from Nicaragua, clearly circumventing Technical Note 68, which forbids the importation of shark fins that are not attached naturally to the bodies.

"With these signatures included, over 5000 citizens of the world have asked President Chinchilla to forbid the importation of sharks to Costa Rica," informed Randall Arauz, President of Pretoma. "This is the only way that Costa Rica can advance toward the effective conservation and management of shark resources, and if it doesn't do it, the foreign fleet will continue to circumvent and make a mockery of Costa Rican shark conservation and management policy, affecting our credibility in international forums", he said.

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Reader Comments

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The problem with Costa Rica is there is no watchdog or government group that inspects the boats coming in. Costa Rica's animal rights activists and environmentalists have called the practice brutal and have protested the government with little success. Back in 2006, Corte Supreme de la Justicia de Costa Rica ruled that foreign ships must use public docks where their catch can be supervised, but they did not put in a provision for local commercial fishermen - giving them a green light to shark finning and catch billfish and export the meat, which is now illegal. Due to China's major investments in Costa Rica (billions of US dollars) and their craving for shark fins, it is pretty clear that officials are being asked to turn the other way. The practice has strong support from these Asian investors who have managed to prevent decisive and enforcement action by Costa Rica's last two presidents. Shark finning, poaching of sea turtle eggs and exporting of billfish meat is ongoing.
   comment# 1   - Tico Times Directory · Costa Rica · Sep 29, 2011 @ 4:59am
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