Countries join forces to combat shark finning

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Colombia and Costa Rica are to create a joint taskforce to combat illegal fishing and shark finning.

The aim is to create both a unified approach to sanctions and developing an action plan for monitoring and control of the joint maritime areas. In the words of Colombian Ambassador to Costa Rica Hernando Herrera the two countries will "dramatically strengthen mechanisms which exist to prosecute those who engage in illegal acts."

The announcement is particularly timely after the Colombian Navy had to detain five Costa Rican fishermen hunting for sharks in the Malpelo National Park, a UNESCO protected area of the Pacific Ocean.

The initiative was started after a similar series of arrests of Costa Rican fishermen in Colombian waters including an episode at the end of 2011 where over 2000 sharks were slaughtered.

Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins. Largely governed by the Taiwanese mafia the trade is thought to be worth millions of dollars with a single bowl of shark fin soup selling for up to $100 in some restaurants. The governments hope this taskforce will expedite communications when dealing with cases of illegal fishing.

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