Friday 31 March 2023

Costa Rica prohibits fishing hammerhead sharks due to danger of extinction

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31 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica took an important environmental step this Wednesday by prohibiting the capture, retention on board, transshipment, unloading, storage, and commercialization of products and by-products of hammerhead sharks.

The scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini)

According to the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the species is in danger of extinction and is part of the country’s environmental DNA.

MINAE minister, Franz Tattenbach, stressed that many tourists come to Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) and Golfo Dulce to visit these species.

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On the other hand, the president of the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca), Heiner Méndez, indicated that the export of sailfish meat will also be prohibited.

Isla del Coco, an island in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 550 km southwest of the Costa Rican mainland, is a World Heritage Site that enjoys the largest congregations of hammerhead sharks.

With an area of approximately 23.85 km2 (9.21 sq mi), the island, designated a Costa Rican National Park since 1978, and has no permanent inhabitants other than Costa Rican park rangers, is the southernmost point of geopolitical North America if non-continental islands are included.

The rich coral reef, volcanic tunnels, caves, massifs and deeper waters surrounding Cocos Island are home to more than 30 species of coral, 60 species of crustaceans, 600 species of molluscs, and over 300 species of fish. These include large populations of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), giant mantas (Manta birostris), sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and sharks, such as whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) and scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini).



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