Controversy Surrounds Regulation of Shark Fishing in Colombia

Controversy Surrounds Regulation of Shark Fishing in Colombia
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The recent government resolution aimed at regulating the incidental fishing of sharks in Colombia has sparked intense debate, drawing criticism from environmentalists and raising concerns about the fate of threatened species. However, the Colombian government argues for the conservation of traditional artisanal fishing, generating controversy surrounding shark fishing regulation in Colombia.

Erika López, guardian of Malpelo Island and director of the Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, vehemently opposes the resolution, labeling it as a “step backwards.” She warns that such measures jeopardize the survival of threatened species, echoing sentiments from other environmentalists who express alarm over the potential consequences for biodiversity.

The resolution, presented by the government as a means to pave a path for shark fishing, has been met with skepticism. Critics argue that it fails to address underlying issues and instead risks exacerbating threats faced by marine life.

The controversy lies in that while artisanal fishermen and coastal communities traditionally have considered various shark species as food, “incidental capture” – contrary to directed fishing – opens the door to the interpretation of the practice’s reality and is ultimately very difficult to control. Additionally, there are endangered shark species that are illegally hunted by these artisanal fishermen, not for consumption, but for trafficking their fins to the Asian continent.

While the government maintains that allowing the incidental fishing of sharks will benefit coastal communities reliant on shark consumption, López disputes this assertion. She argues that the measure does little to improve the situation for fishing communities and, instead, poses a significant threat to marine ecosystems, especially in the biodiverse waters around Malpelo Island.

López’s concerns are shared by other activists who fear that the resolution will only serve to exacerbate ongoing challenges faced by marine conservation efforts. They highlight the potential for an increase in illegal trafficking of shark fins and emphasize the need for stronger enforcement measures to protect vulnerable species.

The controversy surrounding shark fishing regulation underscores broader challenges facing marine conservation efforts, the rights of traditional artisanal fishermen, and the lucrative illegal trafficking of shark fins in Colombia. It serves as a call to action for the Colombian government to involve ocean stakeholders in defining the path towards a more inclusive fishing policy.

Sources: El País, El Espectador, El Tiempo, Aunap

Source El País Aunap

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