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Fishermen Block Costa Rican Port To Protest New Law Banning Shark Finning

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A cruise ship carrying 1,300 passengers that was scheduled to arrive at Costa Rica's Pacific port of Puntarenas had to be diverted to Panama because of a protest by fishermen that left three people arrested and caused an estimated $250,000 in losses, authorities said Thursday.

The detainees, according to a statement by the Security Ministry, were captains of small fishing vessels who barred the entrance of the Coral Princess in a protest over a new law banning shark finning, the controversial process of removing shark fins - often while the animal is still alive - to provide the ingredients for the popular Asian dish of shark fin soup.

Fishermen now must unload the whole shark at docks to comply with the law.

The San Jose daily La Nacion on Thursday reported that the Princess Cruises cruise line sent a protest note to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute over the incident, which, according to National Tourism Chamber President Gonzalo Vargas, could result in as much as $250,000 in losses.

Tourists could have spent that amount on handicrafts made by local artisans, food at restaurants, and guided tours offered by local tourism companies, he said.

During Costa Rica's cruise season, from October to April, some 125 vessels carrying 140,000 passengers are expected to arrive at Costa Rica's Pacific ports and an equal number at Atlantic ports.

A country with just 4.5 million inhabitants, Costa Rica last year received 1.9 million international tourist arrivals and the revenue generated by international tourists reached a historic high of $1.9 billion.

Most of those visitors arrived by plane to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central American country, which is home to 4.5 percent of the planet's biodiversity.


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Reader Comments

6 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

I applaud the decision by the Costa Rican goverment to control shark fishing. It is high time that Shark finning was banned completely all over the world. With over 100 milion sharks slaughtered each year to supply Asian markets, many shark species will soon become endangered or extinct.
   comment# 1   - Manfred Mann · UK · Nov 16, 2008 @ 6:44am

Kudos for a small government to stand up fo what is the right thing to do. Now if only the aisian markets can change their eating habits and halt demand.
   comment# 2   - ready to leave · USA · Nov 17, 2008 @ 3:31am

I totally agree what you said. I think Asian should kick away their eating shark fin habit. Hard to change within one night, but when we talk more, more people will concern on this issue. The habit will change gradually.
   comment# 3   - Winnie · Hong Kong · Nov 28, 2008 @ 6:12am

Someone has to stop can we educate people faster on how serious finning has become....shark populations are dwindling...I applaud the Costa Rican government for stepping in..the situation needs serious attention.
   comment# 4   - Rochelle · USA · Jul 18, 2010 @ 7:47pm

Governments better wake up fast!!!!!!!
   comment# 5   - Domenic · Toronto, CANADA · Jun 13, 2011 @ 4:00pm

Thank you Costa Rica for banning shark finning!! Wonderful news!
   comment# 6   - Jill King · USA · Oct 29, 2015 @ 8:41am
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