Exporters await approval from SINAC on February 22 to begin shipments

San José, Costa Rica – February 2, 2017

Shark fins

The national fisheries sector has amassed at least 8 tons of hammerhead shark fins since March 1, 2015 when the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) first banned the export of hammerhead products of any kind. In 2015 alone 4.5 tons of hammerhead fins were landed in Puntarenas. On average, each boat in the Costa Rican longline fleet landed between 5-10 kilos of fins, though some landings were upwards of 466 kilos. Despite the lack of information from the national shark fishery’s 2016 total catch, a safe estimate is that the fleet caught a similar amount of fins to the year before, leading to a conservative estimate of 8 tons. The total weight of an adult hammerhead’s fins is approximately 1 kilo, meaning that 8,000 individuals were sacrificed so that their fins could be stockpiled and eventually exported to Hong Kong.

Up to this moment, Costa Rica’s current government has not done anything to improve the conservation of hammerhead sharks”, said Andy Bystrom of the Costa Rican organization CREMA. “The government has chosen to side with the national shark fishing fleet and Puntarenas exporters in their quest to drive hammerheads into extinction,” continued Bystrom.

Timeline of official government actions since the inclusion of hammerhead sharks in CITES Appendix II 

“February 22 will be a decisive day for the future of hammerhead sharks as it will decide the fate of the 8 tons of stockpiled hammerhead fins,” said Randall Arauz for the international organization Fins Attached. “We know all of the tricks the authorities are up to, and if we allow this shipment of fins to happen, the killing of hammerheads in order to export their fins to Hong Kong will continue uninterrupted in Costa Rica until they are extinct,” continued Arauz.

 For more information: 

Randall Arauz

Policy and organizational development specialist-Fins Attached

rarauz@finsattached.org (506) 8708 8253

 

Andy Bystrom

Consultor – CREMA (506) 8764-4839