Stop shark finning. Costa Rica leading the way.

Today I feel very proud of Costa Rica. Let’s hope that their lead in banning the import of shark fins and closing a legal loophole in the industry sets an example for countries worldwide. The illegal multi billion dollar industry is largely unmanaged, with most countries throughout the world acting as exporters, and many countries including mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand as well as The United States and the European Union being the consumer countries that feed this trade. Shark fin soup is viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy, with Hong Kong handling around 50 percent of the global fin trade, supposedly importing about 10,000 tonnes annually for the past decade. It’s thought that 73 million sharks are killed every year. The fins are brutally cut off living sharks, regardless of age, size or species, and then they are left to die having been thrown back into the water. President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla states “Shark finning is a practice that Costa Rica does not accept and we want to send a clear signal about our opposition to these types of activities.” Chinchilla also announced an investment of up to $15 million in a new radar system that will allow authorities to better identify boats breaking the ban.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a surfer sharks scare me. It’s an ever present fear in my mind of what could happen and the dangers of surfing with sharks. But this industry is brutal. It’s incredibly important that we follow and build awareness of these environmental issues and highlight when decisions such as these are made. Lets hope that other countries throughout the world follow this lead that Costa Rica has set, and eventually we will be able to close all loopholes and shut down this savage industry.

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