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Costa Rican Coast Guard arrests boat captain for alleged shark finning

March 24, 2014

On Sunday, coast guard officers detained a fishing boat in Quepos, Puntarenas, on the Pacific coast, and found 21 shark fins on board weighing four kilograms, which likely came from four sharks, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.

Shark finning, the practice of loping off a shark’s fins and dumping the still living body back into the ocean, is illegal in Costa Rica along with the trafficking and importation of the appendages. Costa Rica formally banned the practice in October 2012.

Authorities also found an illegal catch of sailfish on board the boat, named the Argentina, which law enforcement officials seized. Coast guard officers arrested the boat’s captain, a man with the last names Quirós Zúñiga, for the illegal shark fins and for exceeding the legal limit on sailfish by 251 kilograms. He was scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday.

Sports fisherman are allowed to catch and release sailfish, but Costa Rican law prohibits the game fish from constituting more than 15 percent of a boat’s catch.

Shark fins, considered a delicacy in Chinese cooking, can garner hundreds of dollars per kilogram.

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