Sharks to the Plenary Now!

Campaign: Sharks to the Plenary Now

Citizens of the world and friends of sharks,

The Environmental Commission will be voting on wether to return the bill that would make sharks wildlife to the Plenary, next October 10th.

These are the 5 deputies, or congressmen, we must convince to vote in favor of sending the bill to the Plenary:  Rosalía Brown and David Segura of Partido Nueva República (PNR), and Gilbert Jiménez, Oscar Izquierdo and Katherine Moreira of Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN).

Sharks need your help again!  Send this petition to these 5 deputies, so that Costa Rica may advance is marine conservation issues, and that we may be proud of our country in international forums.

Sharks to the Plenary Now!

Esteemed Deputies,

We hereby salute you and exhort you to vote in favor of sending bill 21.754, that would modify the Wildlife Conservation Law in such a way that threatened sharks would undeniably be protected as wildlife, immediately back to the Plenary for its discussion and vote. We justify this petition with several fact of great weight.

Constitutional jurisprudence. According to the Constitutional Court (Res: 1999-01250 19/2/1999), the commercialization of species that have been declared Endangered is contrary to the Precautionary Principle, and is thus, unconstitutional. For your information, the species of sharks in question (three species of hammerhead sharks, three species of thresher sharks, and the silky shark) have all been listed under the National System of Protected Area´s (SINAC for its Spanish acronym) Marine Coastal Wildlife List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife Species ((R-SINAC-CONAC-008-2021).

National Laws The Wildlife Conservation Law rules that the SINAC is the governing body over threatened marine species (article 71) and not only does it ban the catch, retention and domestic commercialization of wildlife (article 14c), it also bans the international commerce of any species listed under the appendixes (I, II, and III) of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife (CITES) (article 75). The Fishery Law itself (article 140) also bans the catch, retention and commercialization of threated species protected by conventions.

Abiding by convention commitments. CITES accepts that countries may have stricter restrictions upon the international commerce of threatened species than CITES itself, even total bans on international commerce (article 14). Abiding by the sentence of the First Chamber of Appeals of the Supreme Court of Justice of June 21, 2023 (Exp. 17-008322-1027-CA Res. 000912-F-S1-2023, 21/6/2023). The First Chamber of Appeals confirms that a) shark are wildlife, b) that their declaration as commercial species (AJDIP 290- 2017) was an unlawful act of absolute nullity, and c) it orders the Ministry of Environment and the Fisheries Institute to protect these species using the Wildlife Conservation Law and the Law of Biodiversity. Since May of 2017, all extraction and commercialization of threatened sharks under the governing body of the Fisheries Institute has been done ILLEGALLY.

Bill 21.754 was designed precisely with the intention of clarifying that certainly, the Wildlife Conservation Law does not apply to marine species of commercial interest, except in the case where such species have been unsustainably exploited for so long and to such a degree that the State must grant them threatened status in order to take the measure necessary to not only halt the detriment to the species, but also to promote its recovery, in which case the Wildlife Conservation Law fully applies.

It is evidently impossible to advance in national marine conservation affairs when the authorities of the Executive Branch insist on not only ignoring existent laws, but on issuing decrees and resolutions contrary to them, obligating the judicialization of the cases. In conclusion, project 21.754 is congruent with national legislation, constitutional jurisprudence, the commitments acquired at wildlife trade conventions, and the recent sentence of the First Chamber of Appeals of the Supreme Court of Justice. Thus, we exhort you again to send the bill immediately back to the Plenary for its discussion and vote.

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