|Sharks slaughtered for their fins.|
Instead, the divers witnessed a horror scene: hundreds of dead or dying sharks lying on the sea floor with their fins chopped off. The animals had been massacred for the market for shark fin soup in China, where a kilo of dried fins can bring hundreds of dollars.
Apparently, while a Colombian coast guard ship was in drydock for repair, boats from Costa Rica snuck into Colombian waters and devastated the shark population around Malpelo Island, which is a national marine reserve.
Ironically, Costa Rica is famous as a natural playground. Colombian and Costa Rican authorities are now pursuing the illegal fishermen. But catching a few ships will help little against this massacre on the world's high seas, where no government has control.
|Counting shark fins.|
Colombia has relatively strong laws against finning. But laws are one thing and the reality on the open sea is another: factory fishing boats can catch, kill and butcher hundreds of sharks in a day, dump the corpses back into the sea and then even transfer the fins to another ship.
Colombia is not innocent in this holocaust. I've seen shark fin soup on menus in Bogotá Chinese restaurants, altho it is possible that these were harvested 'sustainably' when the shark was fished for its meat.
More info at Shark Angels: http://www.sharkangels.org/
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours