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Success! Costa Rica Bans Shark Finning

Success! Costa Rica Bans Shark Finning

In a move that’s slowly becoming an international trend, the country of Costa Rica recently enacted a law that bans all elements of shark finning within its borders. Although the island nation technically outlawed shark finning in 2011, the legislation still permitted the transportation and importation of fins from other countries. The updated law, signed by President Laura Chinchilla earlier this week, closes those loopholes.

“Costa Rica may set an example to the world when it comes to environmental protection, but it must be noted that we had a significant lag when it comes to protecting the oceans,” Chinchilla told reporters at a signing ceremony in Manuel Antonio National Park on the country’s Pacific coast.

Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful process whereby the fins are cut from still-living sharks, while the rest of the animal is tossed back into the ocean. Demand for shark fins is driven mainly by Asian countries where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy.

But just signing a piece of paper that makes shark finning illegal doesn’t do much to end this centuries-old practice. That’s why Costa Rica also announced an investment of up to $15 million in a new radar system that will allow authorities to better identify boats breaking the ban.

Those who are caught violating the law will face fines and the potential cancellation of fishing licenses. It’s this latter consequences that will likely make the most impact in Costa Rica, where commercial fishing is a major source of income, both for the government and individuals. Commercial fishermen tempted to engage in shark finning on the side may think twice if it could cost them their livelihoods. Unfortunately, the ban still allows for the capture of whole sharks for food.

Costa Rica’s decision is just the latest in a string of countries and states that have banned shark finning. Most recently, the Chinese government pledged to stop serving shark fin soup at official banquets within the next one to three years.

A special thank-you to the 1,260 Care2 Members who signed this petition telling Costa Rica to stop shark finning!


Related Reading:

World’s Largest Tuna Conservation Coalition Bans Shark Finning

New York Considers Banning Shark Fin Soup

The Tide Is Turning For Sharks

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Image via Thinkstock

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7:55AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

I am glad to hear there are now steps to stop this outrage of cutting the fins off living sharks. I think it mainly revolves around money and greed. Isn't there warnings of eating shark, as of the high mercury content.

10:46AM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

more countries need to stop shark finning, sharks belong in the ocean and not in soup bowls

5:28AM PDT on May 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:17PM PST on Feb 22, 2013


8:09PM PST on Feb 18, 2013


3:25AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

We need more respect on the animal like this

9:42PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Provide Safe Haven to Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Email this link to your friends and family:

7:43PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Thanks for reporting on the success!

8:24AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Great news.Thank you Costa Rica

10:32PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

I am not particularly fond of sharks and I certainly am afraid of them. However, I do pity them. No human being has the right to torture another living creature. In the end death comes to us all. How will you ask your Maker for mercy when you yourself have shown none? I applaud the efforts of all involved who have worked so hard to have this abusive and inhumane practice outlawed. Bless you.

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