February 28, 2006 – San Jose, Costa Rica
In an action clearly designed to defend the interests of the Taiwanese shark fleet, the Costa Rican Fishery Department (INCOPESCA), has asked the Attorney General’s office to nullify its January 25, 2006 ruling which requires all shark fins to be landed attached in natural form to their respective bodies.
The issue of how shark fins can be landed in Costa Rica has consumed considerable amounts of the Attorney General’s time during the last eight months.
In July of 2005, the Attorney General ruled that an INCOPECSA policy of allowing fins to be landed tied onto shark bodies violated article 40 of the Fishery Law and that INCOPESCA must require that fins are landed attached in natural form. In the ruling the Attorney General clarifies that allowing fins to be tied on opens numerous loopholes that facilitate shark finning (tying extra fins to each body or tying large fins to small bodies), makes at sea controls against shark finning impossible and severely complicates controls at dockside. To arrive at its ruling, the Attorney General’s office consulted with diverse national and international experts, officials and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
In spite of the fact that rulings by the Attorney General are binding, INCOPESCA not only decided to ignore the July ruling, but in September of 2005 requested that the ruling be reconsidered.
On January 25, 2006, the Attorney General rejected INCOPESCA’s request and reconfirmed that in order to apply the Fishery Law, INCOPESCA must require shark fins to be landed attached in natural form. Article 40 demands that sharks be landed with their respective fins attached. The only way to guarantee that the fins attached are in fact the respective fins, as the law requires, is to land fins attached in natural form.
Once again, INCOPESCA has decided to ignore the ruling and now has requested that the ruling be nullified.
“It is nothing short of amazing what lengths INCOPESCA goes to to protect the interests of the Taiwanese fleet,” states Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA. “In spite of two rulings by the Attorney General, reached after comprehensive and transparent consultation with all stakeholders, INCOPESCA continues policies which clearly promote shark finning and which have brought our nation international shame. The president, Dr. Abel Pacheco is paying the consequences and has received the “International Shark Enemy of the Year” award. And it’s no surprise. Every time legislation is created to control shark finning, the fishery authorities appointed by the president look for loopholes to circumvent the law.”
The District Attorney in Costa Rica’s largest Pacific port, Puntarenas, has begun investigations into the activities of the Technical Director and President of INCOPESCA regarding violations in public service.
CONTACT: Randall Arauz, President PRETOMA
TEL: +(506) 241-5227
FAX: +(506) 236-6017
PRETOMA (Programa Restauraci