Fishing boat captain fined in shark finning case

The captain of a shark finning boat ducked jail time but has to pay a fine, according to environmentalists monitoring the trial in Puntarenas.

The captain is Tsa Yu Jen of the Belize-registered Hung Chi Fu 12. He was cited into flagrancy court March 2 when his crew began unloading 20,000 kilos of shark fins at the public dock in Puntarenas. Costa Rican law says that the fin must be offloaded still attached to the shark.

The Program Restauración de Tortugas Marinas, which monitored the case, said that the prosecutor sought a year in prison for the captain and confiscation of the boat.

Instead the man received a fine of about 18 million colons, about $35,400 and the confiscation of the sale proceeds of the shark fins to Mariscos Wang, a local firm. That was about $32,000.

The environmental organization has been involved in a prolonged fight against shark finning, a lucrative occupation in the Pacific port town.

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