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    Hondurans Burn Shark Fins To Stick It To Poachers
    By News Staff | June 1st 2012 05:11 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Honduras is now a permanent shark sanctuary so any shark fins found are illegal - the International Union for Conservation of Nature says that 30 percent of all shark populations around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction. 

    Shark fins are worth $300 per pound in the global marketplace but they are illegal in Honduras and five other countries; Palau, the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, the Bahamas, and the Maldives. Together those comprise more than 1.8 million square miles of ocean. On June 24, 2011, President Porfirio Lobo Sosa announced a permanent shark sanctuary in Honduran waters. The designation encompasses all 240,000 square kilometers (92,665 square miles) of the country's exclusive economic zone on its Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

    So when the fins, mostly from nurse sharks, were seized in April by the Honduran navy, it was a safe assumption the fins were obtained illegally. Still, with 14% inflation and 22% of the country below poverty levels surely something could have been done with the hundreds of shark fins, worth that $300 per pound as mentioned. The poachers were already penalized but actual law-abiding poor people could have been helped with the money for a product perfectly legal in plenty of other countries.

    Instead, President Porfirio Lobo joined the country's top law enforcement officials yesterday in a bit of political theater, to watch the burning of the illegal shark fins. 


    Honduran officials burn hundreds of shark fins. Credit: Javier Maradiaga, Pew Environment Group

    "Unfortunately there are few limits on the number of sharks that can be killed beyond the borders of our sanctuary, but we are committed to putting a stop to this activity in Honduras," Lobo said. "These animals play an important role in maintaining healthy coastal areas, our fisheries are dependent upon them, and they provide revenue by bringing tourists and divers to Honduras to see sharks. They are worth far more alive than dead."

    In 2011 and 2012, Palau and the Marshall Islands fined
    Taiwanese and Japanese vessels $65,000 and $125,000 respectively for crossing into their waters.

    "We salute the government of Honduras and its law enforcement officers for swiftly implementing its shark sanctuary," said Maximiliano Bello, who advises the Pew Environment Group on shark conservation and spoke at the event. "More comprehensive measures and enforcement actions such as these are still needed to protect the ocean's top predators from extinction."

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    The poachers were already penalized but actual law-abiding poor people could have been helped with the money for a product perfect legal in plenty of other countries.
    What is that supposed to mean?  Is it being suggested that when the police seize a shipment of cocaine, they should penalize the drug dealers and then turn the drugs over to poor people to sell because they can benefit economically from it?

    The legality in other countries is irrelevant, or is that supposed to be the criteria?  It's OK to have 100 kilos of cocaine as long as you're looking to sell it to a country where it is legal? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    What is that supposed to mean? Is it being suggested that when the police seize a shipment of cocaine, they should penalize the drug dealers and then turn the drugs over to poor people to sell because they can benefit economically from it?
    Don't know anything about cocaine (and I am certainly not disagreeing with your 'it shouldn't matter if the charity is good or not if the product was legal and now is not' stance) but the government used to have auctions for confiscated stuff from criminals all of the time. Cars and whatnot.  I imagine if cocaine were legal in 175 other countries of the world the government absolutely would sell it to one of them.