IUCN Declares Tying Shark Fins to Bodies Permits Shark Finning

by | Aug 2, 2005

• • • PRESS RELEASE • • •

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

IUCN Declares Tying Shark Fins to Bodies Permits Shark Finning

July 19, 2005 – San Jose, Costa Rica
The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) on July 12, 2005 made a public clarification regarding shark finning.  The clarification is related to the IUCN official recommendation against shark finning passed in November 2004.  The IUCN, made up of 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries, passed the recommendation at its World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, Thailand calling on all States and the United Nations to prohibit shark finning. 
The recommendation specifically calls for sharks to be landed with their fins attached to the bodies.

The clarification happens to be relevant to Costa Rica at the moment, given that the new Costa Rican Fishery Law also requires sharks to be landed with their respective fins attached.

However, currently the Costa Rican government is interpreting “attached” to mean tied on or taped on; that is to say, not attached in natural form.

The July 12th IUCN declaration states that tying or taping fins to bodies implicitly permits shark finning and runs counter to the IUCN recommendation.

“There are a lot of reasons why it’s important for fins to be attached in natural form,” states Noah Anderson of PRETOMA.  “Allowing fins to be tied on creates complications and loopholes.  First, extra fins can easily be tied onto each body, thus permitting shark finning.  Inspectors have to tediously count every fin at landing inspections.  Inspections at sea become impossible when fins are separated from bodies.  And accurate species identification, necessary for effective shark management, becomes impossible.”

“The Costa Rican government has stated publicly that the Regulation of the new Fishery Law will require fins to be attached in natural form,” states Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA.  “However, it could be months before that Regulation is published.  If tying fins on permits shark finning, you have to ask, why wait for months to fix the situation?  What’s causing the Costa Rican government to postpone requiring fins to be attached in natural form?”

Click here for the declaration by the IUCN (note: the document is in Spanish)

PRETOMA (Programa Restauraci