San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Shark fin smuggler will not face prison

Tsa Yu Jen, a Taiwanese citizen accused by local authorities of loading more than 44,000 pounds of finless sharks at public docks last March 2, will not face a prison sentence.

Instead, the captain will be forced to pay a $36,000 fine. Also, the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute will seize the $64,000 in profits the vessel obtained after selling the shark meat.

The sentence was issued Wednesday in the Puntarenas.

Environmentalist groups sought a more severe punishment. However, judges did not find enough evidence to prove the shark finning happened within Costa Rica territory.

“This is a great first step to send a clear message for those involved in shark finning: Get out of Costa Rica.” said Jorge Ballestero, an environmental activist of the Marine Turtle Restoration Program, one of the biggest environmental groups in the country.

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