Colombia and Costa Rica have agreed to create a joint taskforce to combat illegal fishing and shark finning, reported news agency EFA Friday.
The announcement was made by the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, two days after five Costa Rican fishermen were detained for illegal fishing in the UNESCO protected Malpelo National Park, inside Colombia’s water borders.
Colombian officials visited the Costa Rican capital San Jose on Thursday to thrash out details of the bilateral effort.
Costa Rica’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Roverssi announced in a statment, “a radical attempt to combat the shark finning, with a willingness to apply all administrative and judicial sanctions available.”
Shark finning is the practice of cutting off sharks’ fins, after which the fish are normally left to die in the water. The fins are sold to the Asian market, where they are considered a delicacy and cost up $350 per lb.
Colombian Ambassador to Costa Rica Hernando Herrera said that from now on the two countries will “dramatically strengthen mechanisms which exist to prosecute those who engage in illegal acts.”
The move comes two months after the Colombian government denounced the killing of 2,000 sharks in Colombian waters by Costa Rican fishermen, an incident shortly followed by the detention of an Ecuadorian ship carrying over 660lbs of illegally caught sharks and other marine life.