Sharks Still Commercial Species and Not Wildlife in Costa Rica, says Administrative Contentious Court

by | Apr 13, 2021

Overfishing and sustained commerce threaten survival of critically endangered hammerhead sharks.

(April 14, 2021 – San José, Costa Rica).  The Costa Rican Contentious Administrative Court ruled yesterday that sharks are commercial species of fish and their management and conservation is the responsibility of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA).  Thus, the legal process that was initiated in September of 2017 by Costa Rican lawyer Walter Brenes of Energy Law Firm and which sought to return the authority over endangered shark species to the Ministry of Environment, comes to an end (

“This resolution is a shock for all of us who seek the management and conservation of sharks based on the best scientific evidence available,” lamented Randall Arauz, the main witness of the plaintiff.  “The most difficult situation to accept is the flagrant violation of international agreements designed to keep restricted products, such as hammerhead shark fins, from entering the chain of international commerce, and which are landed and commercialized in Costa Rica on a daily basis with no controls whatsoever”.

“We will study the resolution in detail and will prepare an appeal,” announced lawyer Brenes.  “We are not going to accept the imminent extinction of sharks on behalf of an institution that is sold out to uncontrolled extractive activities and which has led to an irrefutable state of overfishing that threatens our society as a whole”, sentenced lawyer Brenes.

Walter Brenes
Energy Law Firm / +8995 3068

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