Costa Rica Coffee Guide

High-profile shark-finning trial continues this week

March 14, 2014

The trial of Kathy Tseng Chang began again in a Puntarenas court Wednesday.

Tseng was charged with attempting to export 652 shark fins in 2011. The case drew attention due to the brutally innovative methods the finners allegedly used to attempt to skirt Costa Rican law.

In order to comply with a law requiring shark fins to remain attached to the body for export while still freeing up room in their hull for more fins, fishermen on Tseng’s boat, the Wang Jia Men, cut away all of the flesh on sharks’ bodies, leaving only the spinal column and skin to attach the fins.

Interpol released a purple alert last November to warn other countries to close up the potential loophole in their shark-finning legislation.

Randall Arauz, president of the marine conservation group Pretoma, did not sound optimistic about the ruling in a press release sent out by the organization.

“Remember that national fisheries authorities have been extremely lenient with Taiwanese businessmen involved in activities of finning” said Arauz. “The authorities aren’t afraid of being ridiculed internationally, they just fall back on their distorted  policies.”

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