Adt’l $1.5 in missing taxes on shark fins landed in Costa Rica
October 18, 2005 – San Jose, Costa Rica
New data obtained by PRETOMA points to $1.5 million in missing taxes on shark fins landed in Costa Rica by foreign, notably Taiwanese, vessels in 2004.
This comes on the heels of a formal denouncement filed by PRETOMA last month at the Treasury Department pointing to $2 million in missing taxes on fins landed in 2003.
The Customs Office of Risk and Intelligence is investigating the case and PRETOMA has now provided the new 2004 data to investigators.
As pointed out in the original denouncement, a conservative dockside price for shark fins is $35 per kilo.
Foreign vessels must pay a 10% tax on shark fins landed in Costa Rica.
In 2003, foreign vessels landed 546 tons of shark fins. They should have paid approximately $2 million, but only paid $34,000.
In 2004, foreign vessels landed 439 tons of shark fins. They should have paid approximately $1.5 million in taxes, but only paid $48,000.
In both years the small amount of taxes paid would put the price of shark fins at less than $1 per kilo – inconceivable given that they are one of the world’s highest priced fishery products reaching up to $700 per kilo.
Each year the amount of missing taxes is nearly equal to the entire annual budget of the Costa Rican Fishery Institute (INCOPESCA) which is charged with controlling foreign vessel landings, and regularly complains of lacking funds.
“We are very concerned about these figures because they point to a huge loss for the Costa Rican public and massive shady profits for foreign shark fin dealers,” says Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA. “The books are either being cooked or Customs is completely asleep at the wheel. As we’ve stated before, Customs has a lot of explaining to do.”
CONTACT: Randall Arauz, President PRETOMA
TEL: +(506) 241-5227
FAX: +(506) 236-6017
PRETOMA (Programa Restauraci