Stop Killing Sharks for their Fins

11-17-13 Shark

Target: Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla

Goal: Remove legal loopholes that allow fishers in Costa Rica to continue the cruel practice of hunting sharks for their fins.

The cruel practice of removing a shark’s fin to sell has become illegal in many countries, including Costa Rica. However, fishermen have found a loophole in the system. The usual practice is to catch a shark, cut off its fin, and toss the fish back into the water, an act which has been declared too vicious and dangerous for the shark population. Now, to evade the law, fisherman have begun to catch the sharks whole and dump the shark’s body at a later point. Or even worse, they take the shark fin and spine, tossing the now dead shark back into the water.  While the method is different the result is still the same: too many sharks are being brutally killed for their fins and it must stop. Urge Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to create stricter laws that close this new loophole.

One of the largest reasons shark fins are harvested is for a soup that is popular in a variety of cultures. India and Europe have made strong moves to ban the soup and practice, and Costa Rica banned it entirely. Unfortunately, there is still a large enough demand for shark fins to make it profitable for fishermen to fill his boat with fins.

Costa Rica’s attempts at helping to save sharks by making it illegal to remove a shark’s fin was a good plan, but needs to be added upon. It must also be illegal to remove the shark’s fin and spine together, since this technicality is how the fisherman are still getting away with killing these creatures.


Dear President Chinchilla,

First, I would like to applaud your decision to make it illegal for fishermen to hunt sharks for the fins. Shark fin removal is a terrible and brutal practice that must be stopped. However, it appears fishermen have found a loophole in the law by removing both the shark’s fin and spine, meaning they are not technically not “removing” the fin. This practice must also be stopped immediately.

As shark fins are still a valuable commodity, fishermen are still eager to seek out fins. And since hauling the entire shark body would take up valuable space in the boat, these fisherman are eager to do whatever it takes to keep turning a profit no matter the cost to these creatures.

When Costa Rica created the new law to stop killing sharks for their fins, it was clearly intent on helping to protect the sharks. Since the fishermen have found a loophole, it seems clear an additional law is needed to actually make this brutal act illegal once and for all.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: CRED/PIFSC, NOAA via Wikimedia

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