Endangered Shark Species now listed under Costa Rica’s National Endangered Species List.

by | May 17, 2021

Hammerhead sharks, Silky sharks and Thresher sharks must now be protected by the Wildlife Conservation Law.

(San Jose, Costa Rica – May 17th, 2021).  The National System of Protected Areas (SINAC) published today the Official List of Endangered Species and with Reduced and Threatened Populations (La Gaceta, N°93, 17/5/2021).  The list includes three species of Hammerhead sharks (Critically Endangered), three species of Thresher sharks (Endangered) and the Silky shark (Vulnerable), all threatened with extinction.  The Wildlife Conservation Law of Costa Rica does not allow the extraction and commercialization of these wildlife species (Article 14, section c) nor the international commercialization of their products (Article 75).


Since May 2017, the government of Luis Guillermo Solís promulgated that sharks are not wildlife but rather commercial species, the conservation of which is the sole responsibility of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute INCOPESCA (Executive Decree N°40379 MINAE-MAG).  Even though the Court derogated this Decree last November 15, 2020, current president Carlos Alvarado insisted last February18th through Executive Decree 42482 that endangered shark species must continue being considered commercial species.

“We are hopeful that soon sharks in Costa Rica may enjoy the protection that they deserve and need”, said a cautious Jeffry Madrigal of the Costa Rican non-profit Endangered Marine Rescue Center (CREMA for its Spanish acronym).  “Unfortunately, there is still a serious problem, and its that these same species are still listed under INCOPESCA’s Commercial Species List”, said a concerned Madrigal.

Former Minister of Environment Carlos Manuel Rodríguez (Periódico La Nación, May 27 of 2019), the Vice Minister of Oceans Haydee Rodríguez (Semanario Universidad, January 8 of 2019), the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAC), and President Alvarado himself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGAgDS2GT9M) all affirm that threatened shark species must be protected under the Wildlife Conservation Law” confirmed Randall Arauz, of the Colorado based non-profit Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation.  Thus, we call on President Alvarado to immediately proceed to derogate Executive Decree N°42482 and avoid future detriment to this threatened species on behalf of INCOPESCA”.

“The State of Costa Rica is currently subject to a Judicial process for not protecting threatened marine species as they deserve, nor respecting constitutional court jurisprudence of 1999 (Exp: 98-003684-0007-CO, Res: 1999-01250) which clearly states that the commercialization of an endangered species is contrary to the Precautionary Principle and thus to the Constitution of the Republic,” affirmed lawyer Walter Brenes, of Energy Law Firm.  “The President must show that he takes his own statement seriously and avoid the further prolongation of this judicial process”, sentenced Brenes.

For more information:

Jeffry Madrigal
CREMA-Costa Rica
Jmadrigal@cremacr.org / +506 8859 6514

Randall Arauz
Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation
rarauz@finsattached.org / +506 8708 8253

Walter Brenes
Energy Law Firm
wbrenes@elawf.com / +506 8995 3068