Unique compliance with law highlighted in shark fin case

A businesswoman is on trial in Puntarenas for what shark defenders say is a new form of trying to sidestep the law about finning.

Shark fins are valuable, but Costa Rica had a law that prohibited the importation of shark fins unless they were attached to the shark. This was an environmental rule designed to keep fishing boats from catching thousands of sharks, cutting off their fins and dumping the carcasses back in the water.

In the case of  Kathy Tseng Chang, the environmental organization  Programa Restauración Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas said that a boat crew responsible for her stripped the meat from the sharks and left the fins attached, perhaps in an artificial way, to the backbone. This allowed the crew to save space on the boat.

That was in 2011 when the boat was unloading 652 fins.

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