San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Four fishermen arrested for shark finning off southern coast

Coast Guard officials on Tuesday arrested four Costa Rican men and confiscated 122 fins from 30 sharks after intercepting a Costa Rican fishing vessel off the southern coast near Punta Blanco, at the mouth of Golfo Dulce, the daily La Nación reported.

The men arrested were identified by the last names Calvo (the captain), 21, Castillo, 28, Brenes, 18, and a 16-year-old. Coast Guard Director Martin Arias told La Nación the men were processed and released. The boat remains in the custody of the Coast Guard.

When authorities searched the boat they found fins inside freezers, already cut from the animals, which were likely thrown back into the water. Another 1,200 kilos of other fish produce was seized.

La Nación reported that the boat’s fishing license expired over a month ago, and the boat’s crew wasn’t registered by the Golfito harbor master. The ship’s captain said other crew members who were registered were too drunk to work.

This is the second arrest of shark finners in the past 15 days in the southern Pacific. On June 11, the Coast Guard intercepted another boat transporting 58 fins without the shark’s bodies attached, as the law requires. Costa Rica’s fishing law calls for six months to two years in prison for landing sharks without the fins attached.

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