Costa Rican court will resolve on the future of hammerhead sharks in three weeks

by | Mar 25, 2021

Executive Branch accused for allowed commercialization of the species.

(San José, Costa Rica – March 25, 2021)

The Contentious Administrative Court of Costa Rica announced last March 16the that within a three week time frame it would resolve regarding the lawsuit filed by lawyer Walter Brenes of Energy Law Firm against the State, the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA) and the National System of Protected Areas (SINAC), for allowing the commercialization of hammerhead sharks, a Critically Endangered species.

The trial began on August 18 of 2018, under case 17-0083221028-CA.  The plaintiff’s intention is to obtain protection for hammerhead sharks through the listing of the species under SINACs Endangered Species List, currently (and since June of 2017) listed under INCOPESCA’s Commercial Species List.

According to Costa Rican biologist Randall Arauz of the non-profit Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation, and witness to the plaintiff, INCOPESCA has facilitated the hammerhead shark overfishing and extinction process, by allowing its unrestricted fishing and domestic commercialization against all known science.  “According to official reports, 85% of all hammerhead sharks landed during the last 6 years have not even reached its size of sexual maturity, and the number of specimens landed dropped 94% from 2017 to 2019,” denounced alarmed Arauz.  “The worst of it all is that the State insists on fishing out the species and keeping its commercialization unencumbered, with the absurd pretext that this will reactivate fisheries”, said Arauz ironically.

“Being the Critically Endangered species that it is, hammerhead sharks require concrete and directed actions to reduce their interactions with commercial fisheries and avoid their domestic and international commercialization,” said lawyer Walter Brenes.  “An effective conservation policy for hammerhead sharks will never be attained as long as the conservation of the species depends on policies that emanate from INCOPESCA, because of which it is essential to immediately list the species under SINAC’s Endangered Species List”, sentenced Brenes.

Costa Rica also allows the catch and international commercialization of silky sharks and thresher sharks, both of which have catalogued as Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  For more information:

Walter Brenes
Energy Law Firm / +8995 3068

Randall Arauz
Consultor en Política de Conservación Marina
Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation / +506 8708 8253