UPDATES (just sharin' information on Paul Watson, Shark Finning, Costa Rica, the environment - blah blah blah!):
Sea Shepherd sheds some light on the recent Shark Finning Ban in Costa Rica
In the past week The Costa Rica Star has published on the shark finning ban that was signed by Laura Chinchilla in the presence of Sir Richard Branson, near Manuel Antonio National Park.
Taken from seashepherd.org:
Sea Shepherd is not buying it. This is simply smoke and mirrors by President Laura Chinchilla. Costa Rica is simply trying to do damage control for all the attention focused on shark-finning since Costa Rica issued a warrant for the arrest of our founder and president Captain Paul Watson in May of this year.
Why do we think that President Chinchilla is not sincere?
The first reason is that she will continue to allow shark fins from Nicaragua to be shipped to China through Costa Rican ports. This will of course allow for shark fins taken in Costa Rican waters to be smuggled through with the Nicaraguan shipments. The question needs to be asked as to why the shark fins are not being shipped directly from Nicaraguan ports? The answer is that Costa Ricans are heavily involved in this trade of fins from Nicaragua and the shark fin industry of both countries is linked.
The second reason is that 400,000 sharks were slaughtered in Costa Rican waters in 2011 and Costa Rica exported some 30 tons of shark fins. This means some very well connected people are making a great deal of money and that kind of money buys influence.
The third reason is that China has been investing a great deal of money in Costa Rica and China is the major market for shark fins. Chinese shark fin buyers have been very busy in Costa Rica over the last few years.
The fourth reason is that right now at this very moment poachers are prowling the waters off Cocos Island and the rangers do not have the resources to deal with them. The Coast Guard makes token arrests but very little enforcement is actually being done.
The fifth reason is that Costa Rica is continuing to demand the extradition of Captain Paul Watson for disrupting a shark fin operation in 2002. The shark fin mafia in Costa Rica wants Captain Watson eliminated and the Chinchilla government is bending over backward in their efforts to deliver Captain Watson to Costa Rica.
President Chinchilla is simply trying to appease the tourism industry by creating the illusion she is getting tough on the shark fin industry. Shark fins are big business in Costa Rica and one of the reasons there has been very little outcry from the shark fishing industry over this “decision” is because they know it will continue to be business as usual.
If Costa Rica is really serious about saving sharks, the government should ban all shipments from Nicaragua, step up enforcement, demonstrate some real conservation efforts at Cocos Island: tally up some real arrests and seizures; and they should drop the ridiculous charges against Captain Paul Watson.
The people of Costa Rica want shark finning to stop. Chinchilla needs to understand that she is not fooling anyone with this announcement. She may fool a few people for a few weeks but there are conservationists, rangers, members of the Coast Guard, politicians, and members of the public in Costa Rica who will continue to report the truth.
And the truth is that Costa Rica remains one of the most destructive shark-destroying countries in the world and certainly the most shark destroying nation in Latin America.