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Court confirms deficient shark management in Costa Rica

Last March 10, a Costa Rican Court rejected an appeal by the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute INCOPESCA, calling for the absolute annulment of its shark fisheries report FOE-PGA-86-2006. In the aforementioned report, the Comptrollership widely objects INCOPESCA’s actions to procure the management of sharks, which are described as insufficient, useless, and illegal.

Even though the Comptrollership’s study dates back over a year, most of the dispositions directed to the President and Board of Directors of INCOPESCA to correct the situation have been widely ignored, particularly the obligation to abide by the Constitutional Court’s ruling regarding the use of private docks by foreign fleets, which mandates the use of public infrastructure, in accordance with the country’s custom’s laws. The ruling of the Constitutional Courtwas issued since February of 2006, over two years ago, and still the fisheries authorities have refused to abide by it.

“The use of private docks by foreign fleets to exploit sharks and other marine fauna is a monumental loophole with no legal support whatsoever”, pointed out Jorge Ballestero, of the Costa Rican non profit organization PRETOMA. “An array of Costa Ricans, among public functionaries, fishermen and environmentalists, are well aware of the effects of excessive fishing on sharks, and have joined in a common voice calling for their conservation and management, but the impact of the foreign fleets is overwhelming, undermining any initiative to reach this goal”, sentenced Ballestero.

“We are satisfied with the Comptrollership’s resolution, but are concerned over the amount of time each step of the administrative process may take…time sharks simply don’t have”, expressed with grief Randall Arauz, Executive Director of PRETOMA. “We really hope that this time INCOPESCA will obey the order, and not obligate us to file yet another law suit, because of which I call upon President Oscar Arias Sánchez to order the immediate abidance by the law at the private docks, and get this over with once and for all”, said an emphatic Arauz.