02 May 2012 Costa Rica Puts its Best Fin Forward Posted by: Brian Bovard | 4 comments | Share: Some 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, depriving ocean habitats of this vital top predator. Last week there was some great news for the Sphyrna lewini species of hammerhead shark as Costa Rica awarded Appendix III CITES protection to the beleaguered species. Found mostly along the coasts of its natural range in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans hammerhead shark fins are one of the most prized in Asian markets. Because these scalloped hammerheads swim in large schools, they are targeted by fisheries and particularly susceptible to overfishing. The high commercial value of the shark’s fins combined with the low value of hammerhead shark meat has led to widespread finning of the species, a wasteful and often illegal practice in which the fins are severed only to have the shark thrown back into the ocean to die a slow, painful death. Defenders of Wildlife worked closely with the Costa Rican government to secure this listing for the hammerhead shark, and while it is an important first step towards worldwide shark conservation more countries and their leaders must recognize that this wasteful practice must stop. Click here to learn more about Defenders work on sharks. 4 Responses to “Costa Rica Puts its Best Fin Forward” Cally smith June 8th, 2012 Great news and not before time. This protection has to be monitored. The people (I use this term loosely) have to stop this ridiculous need to buy shark fins, it is plain ignorance and utterly stupid. Those who can fin a shark and throw it back to sea are truly despicable, no matter how much money they receive for doing it. This practice makes my stomach turn with sickness each time I think about it. Christina June 15th, 2012 This is truely horrible JakeyM February 16th, 2013 Well said, but people need to realize that adding Solar to their house is an purchase that should raise the longer term valuation of their home if / when they choose to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are unable to disregard any solution that provides no cost power at no cost to both the consumer and more notably the earth! Scott August 23rd, 2013 As a resident of Costa Rica, I am proud that the government has finally taken this step to protect these sharks, which exist in large numbers near the Isla de Coco (about midway between the Costa Rica coastline and the Galapagos. Also, Costa Rica has prohibited the shark fin trade (regardless of location of the catch), which was until very recently a major industry of the principal Pacific port. Additionally, in the wake of environmentalist Jairo Mora, the government has taken steps to provide more protection to nesting turtles and the turtle egg trade. Unfortunately, as has been pointed out above, enforcement is a very important factor. With a small coast guard and very limited funding, it is difficult for a small country to monitor such a vast expanse of territorial waters and coastlines. Conservation organizations such as Sea Shepherd should be welcome in this effort; however, that organization is not likely to provide assistance because its leader, Paul Watson is wanted by the Costa Rican government on apparently bogus charges made by a Costa Rican fishing vessel. Hopefully, we will continue to see progress in conservation enforcement in Costa Rica and its waters. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?