Thursday night, I was watching the evening news in the salon after dinner with Steven and Roberto when the following report came on (Warning: the video is in Spanish, and has some fairly graphic images of shark finning):
The gist of it (for all you non-Spanish speaking blog readers) is that ten Costa Rican fishing boats were caught illegally fishing in protected Columbian waters around the island of Malpelo. Dead, finless sharks were found by divers around the island, and it’s believed that the Costa Rican fishing boats were among those “shark-finning”.
This news got the Wafer Station crew pretty fired up – we’ve had two hour long morning meetings discussing the matter. What I gather from the conversations, carried out in rapid-fire tico (Costa Rican Spanish), is that the funcionarios believe that the boats caught around Malpelo Island (A factoid worth mentioning: Malpelo Island is also a World Heritage sight) are the same boats that come to Cocos Island. They’re waiting for word back from El Continente – mainland Costa Rica.
Many of the rangers are looking to Columbia to make an example of these fishermen. There’s an deep-seated frustration with the current Costa Rican laws and the current system, because no matter how many times Patrol catches a boat fishing illegally within the park boundaries, the fishermen are never brought to justice. The funcionarios are hoping that with different laws, in a different country, the fishermen will get what’s been coming for them for a long time.
By William Henriques