Costa Rican Court rules in favor of sharks in private dock case

by | Feb 13, 2006

Costa Rican Court rules in favor of sharks in private dock case

February 10, 2006 – San Jose, Costa Rica
On February 3, 2006, the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica ruled in favor of sharks in a law suit presented by PRETOMA against the National Fishery Department (INCOPESCA), the Customs Department and the Ministry of Transportation for allowing foreign vessels to land shark fins at private docks with scarce controls.  In the ruling the court states, “This case demonstrates failures by the State and INCOPESCA in Constitutional and legal duties related to the protection of the marine ecosystem.”   

The Court also orders Customs and INCOPESCA, “To immediately halt the landings of all shark vessels at private docks that do not have a permanent presence of national authorities for the enforcement of Customs, environmental and tax controls, from the arrival of the vessel till the end of the landing process.”    

PRETOMA had filed suit against INCOPESCA and Customs on February 19, 2004 requesting a halt to foreign vessel landings at private docks, where clandestine landings of shark fins have been reported.  In the details of the case, PRETOMA points out that article 212 of the Customs Law requires foreign vessels to land at public docks.  And article 211 states Customs can only authorize exceptionally the landings by foreign vessels at private docks.

However, Customs, with the full knowledge of INCOPESCA, has been allowing foreign vessels to land at private docks as the norm for years.

“There has been nothing exceptional about the landings of foreign vessels at private docks and that has created for years a major loophole for Taiwanese vessels to land shark fins in Costa Rica,” states Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA.  “The ruling of the Court coupled with a recent ruling by the Attorney General ordering sharks to be landed with their fins attached in natural form have created a positive legal framework on paper for an end to shark finning in Costa Rica and we urge President Pacheco and all related authorities to ensure these rulings are effectively enforced.”

CONTACT: Randall Arauz, President PRETOMA
TEL:  +(506) 241-5227
FAX:  +(506) 236-6017

PRETOMA (Programa Restauraci