Uh Oh, People Are Still Shark Finning Legally in Costa Rica Despite the Ban

Written by Michael Richard Graham

Sharks are paying with their lives for this loophole

When you create a law to regulate something, there’s always the danger that people will drive a truck through the loopholes, adhering to the letter of the law but not its spirit. When we wrote about Costa Rica banning shark finning last year, we couldn’t have known what would happen…

INTERPOL reports:

An INTERPOL Purple Notice has been circulated for a modus operandi of the technique where only a band of skin to keep the fin attached to the spine is retained and the remainder of the body discarded at sea. This method is aimed at circumventing legislation banning finning which states that the fins of the shark must be ‘naturally attached’ to the body.

Why do fishermen do this? Because shark fins are a lot more valuable than the rest of the shark, so it’s more profitable to fill your boat with just the fins. But now that there’s a ban on just fins, they are circumventing the prohibition by keeping the fins attached to the shark’s spine, something that is totally against the spirit of the law.

INTERPOL’s goal is to alert other governments about this method:

Head of NCB San José Gustavo Chinchilla said: “This is an opportunity to encourage other member countries to share types of modi operandi, in order to alert enforcement authorities to environmental crimes. I strongly believe that international cooperation and use of INTERPOL´s tools, such as Purple Notices, allow us to provide a more coordinated and effective response to addressing fisheries issues.”

The Purple Notice – to seek or provide information on modi operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals – was requested by Costa Rica following its first National Environmental Security Seminar (NESS) held in San José in August of this year.

Hopefully it is made clear to fishermen that this is not ‘ok’ and not legal and rules against shark finning are enforced. Poor sharks already have a hard time enough as it is

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

Photo Credit: Flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer2 years ago

Good article but sad news.

Past Member
.3 years ago

This is surely a very good blog, thanks a lot for sharing such nice information here. John Franklin

Carrie-Anne Brown

sad news but thanks for sharing :)

Mark Donner
Mark Donner4 years ago

Hugh W. I certainly and without hesitation also blame the "fishermen".. that's like saying don't blame the concentration camp guards of Auschwitz.. are you kidding me?

Mark Donner
Mark Donner4 years ago

Earth without humans = paradise

Angela l.
Angela L4 years ago

Laws are made by humans; just like if there are is no teenage who drinks and drives, no such law is needed. Yet those humans with evil mind never live by the laws and worse, they find ways to make it right for them. It's OK to live poor rather than without wisdom, so sad.....whatever evil thing people do will eventually haunt them like shadows that will always follow them. The people who buys shark fins are as bad as the people who kill them for money, they are equally evil!!!!! I agree with Ron B. the world will end sooner than expected because we don't appreciate what we have till we lose it.

Mandy H.
Mandy H4 years ago

How awful! It's disgusting the way people behave over money, greed is the single most disgusting thing in people. They behave in such a repulsive way in order to gain as much as possible.

Jean Duggan
Jean Duggan4 years ago

It is the buyers who fuel this trade. If no one wanted to buy this product, there would be no need to sell shark fins.

Hugh W.
.4 years ago

Don't blame the fishermen. Blame those with the money that are buying the fins from them.

We devastate local economies throughout the world and then wonder why people do "bad" things or harm nature. It is those at the top of this supply chain and every other that are to blame.