Bill that would have protected sharks in Costa Rica shot down.

by | Aug 22, 2023

Frente Amplio was the only political party that supported shark conservation.

(San José, Costa Rica – August 22, 2023).

During a Plenary meeting today, the Costa Rican congress voted to return the bill that would have protected threatened shark species from overfishing and extinction to the Environment Commission, thus shooting down the initiative.  The bill would have modified the article 1, paragraph 4 of the Wildlife Conservation Law (WCL), so that threatened shark species acknowledged as such by the State, be strictly protected under the governing body of the Ministry of Environment (MINAE).  The bill (Expediente 21754) is congruent with constitutional jurisprudence (1999-01250 19/2/1999) and the recent ruling of the First Court of Appeals of the Supreme Court of Justice (Exp. 17-008322-1027-CA; Res. 000912-F-S1-2023, 21 de junio 2023).  The bill received a unanimous vote by the former Environment Commission in 2020.

“This was not an agreement taken by a Commission, it was just a group of congressmen who decided to bury a bill to allow the continued depredation upon sharks for the benefit of large companies that are emptying the sea”, complained congresswoman Sofía Guillén, of Frente Amplio.  “Its an absolute shame, a regression, this plenary has acted irresponsibly in environmental terms, it seems to live in the stone age, in spite of which an attempt is still made to sell the country as if it was green”, denounced Guillén.

“Until the Ministry of Environment (MINAE for its Spanish acronym) abandons its policy of submission to the Fishery Institute (INCOPESCA for its Spanish acronym) and exercises its authority as governing body over threatened marine species as mandated by the WCL, we can only expect the overfishing and extinction process to continue”, affirmed Randall Arauz, Costa Rican biologist with Marine Watch International.  “We really shouldn’t be surprised, as Costa Rica even opposes shark conservation at international wildlife conservation forums such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife (CITES)”, denounced Arauz.

Even though the bill was shot down, marine environmental activists are announcing that the battle will continue for the full compliance of the 1st Court of Appeals sentence, particularly the declaration of absolute nullity of INCOPESCA’s Agreement AJDIP/290-2017 of July 13, 2017, that promulgated that 3 hammerhead shark species, two thresher sharks and the silky shark, should all be treated as commercial species under the governing body of INCOPESCA, and the mandate to MINAE for the immediate implementation of the WCL and the Law of Biodiversity for the protection of these threatened marine species.

For more information:

Randall Arauz
Marine Watch International – Costa Rica
Rarauz@marinewatch.org
+506 8708 8253