Shark finners move to Nicaragua to unload their catch

The Hung Chi Fu 68 is seen at a dock in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

Shark finners have moved their unloading operation from Puntarenas to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, reported an environmental organization fighting the practice.

The organization, Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas said that the Belize-registered ship Hung Chi Fu 68, was spotted unloading at a dock at the Pacific port.

Recent enforcement of a Costa Rican law caused the shark finners to unload their catch at the government dock in Puntarenas. This the fishermen did not want to do because of a second restrictive law that says a shark fin must be attached to the shark for unloading.

Typically fishermen harvest the valuable fin and dump the disabled shark back into the ocean to die.

There was a prolonged court fight on this issue in
Puntarenas, and the Sala IV constitutional court just decided it would not entertain an appeal.

The organization here said that environmental groups in Nicaragua have expressed concern to the natural resources ministry there. The boat was photographed April 30, according to Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas.

The environmental group here encouraged the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura to take action against the shark finners so that they would comply with the unloading law. They had been unloading at private docks.

Last March 2 a Taiwanese boat captain was caught at the public docks unloading fins. His firm had to pay a $36,000 fine.

Shark finning has been big business in Puntarenas since 1998, and the fins are considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine even though they are not very nutritious.

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