Vessel Hung Chi Fu XII fined for shard finning. (Photo: PRETOMA.org)
USD 120,000 fine for Taiwanese vessel engaged in shark finning
Monday, May 14, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The owner of the Taiwanese ship Hung Chi Fu XII had to pay a fine of CRC 62 million (USD 120,370) for violating the Fisheries Act by practising shark finning.
In accordance with an agreement signed last month in the Flagrancy Court of Puntarenas, the owners of the vessel, operating under flags of Belize, provided the money and withdrew the fishing vessel from the judicial depot where it had remained since 2 March, 2011.
The environmental public prosecutor Luis Diego Hernández Araya believes that this resolution is a great success and the first major conviction achieved for illegal fishing in the country.
Meanwhile, Héiner Méndez, legal adviser to the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (Incopesca), stated that the statement "made them forget about Tiuna case."
That ship was intercepted in January 2008 while fishing in protected waters of Coco Island but it could not be sanctioned because "the captain fled the country and the ship was abandoned," Mendez recalled.
In the case of the Hung Chi Fu XII, the authorities intercepted the vessel in March last year when sharks were being landed without fins on the dock of El Carmen district, in Puntarenas.
On this occasion, it was found out 18,000 kilograms of shark bodies and 2,000 kg of fins were being unloaded, La Nación reported.
Out of the total amount paid under the agreement, CRC 28 million (USD 54,360) is due to the sanction to the captain, Tsai Yu Jen; CRC 18 million (USD 34,945) has been charged to cover the cost of maintaining the ship that was in the court depot; and CRC 16 million (USD 31,060) was deposited following the sale of products being transported on the Taiwanese boat.
Tatiana Chaves Lavagni, deputy prosecutor of Puntarenas, emphasized that the sharks that had been caught must reach the coast as whole species. And he emphasized that if the fins are taken off, the legal rule is broken and a crime is committed.
"That is considered objectionable because it violates the principle of sustainable fisheries and the integral use of fishing resources," she explained.
"It is legal to remove the viscera and make longitudinal cuts to ease the bleeding and prevent contamination. A precedent was set and now many fishermen are complying," Chaves Lavagni added, according to Costa Rica Hoy.
By Analia Murias