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Sea Shepherd Sets Up Shop in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – We can only hope that this bold move will put pressure on the Costa Rican government to start enforcing environmental protection in the country as well as help protect the conservationists that are on the ground trying to stand up to the turtle egg poachers and shark finners. 

sea-shepherd costa rica officeEleven years after it’s founder was nearly arrested on seven counts of attempted murder, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is opening up a new Costa Rica chapter. The office will be in San Jose.

“Costa Rica is saying we took the law into our own hands. We didn’t,” said Watson, the founder and lead-activist, while he was under house arrest in Germany. The Costa Rica National Coordinator, Mabel Oporta, says, “We want to show everyone here what it is that Sea Shepherd really does.”

The first step is clearing Watson’s name. The issue took place in Guatemalan waters in 2002. Watson’s crew interrupted a Costa Rican fishing boat from finning sharks. They captured the event on film. Sea Shepherd insists that the crew was only escorting the ship to shore when they heard that Guatemalan authorities were coming to arrest them. They turned back to Costa Rica but were met by authorities and attempted murder charges. Watson fled to Germany, where he stayed until being arrested in 2012, at the request of Costa Rican authorities.

A global executive for the company, Alex Cornelissen, said, “We weren’t really active in Costa Rica; his arrest actually helped us to get started again.” When Watson was forced back to Costa Rica the group started meeting with lawyers and supporters to create a Costa Rica chapter, which opened in 2012 and has 150 members. Rainforest Radio sponsored their new office, which opened on Saturday. It’s a big step for them to be able to coordinate their efforts and make change.

In the past year, Sea Shepherd’s Costa Rica group has held beach cleanups, educational events, and fundraisers. A recent beach cleanup happened on September 28th in Playa Guacalillo, in Puntarenas.

We all know that the Costa Rican government does not really want to protect its environment. They may talk a lot about how they want a “green” Costa Rica, but the fact is their actions show that is not their intentions.  Shark fins are pulled out of the Costa Rican waters on a daily basis.  Turtle eggs are poached from the beaches.  Lately the fight against these environmental criminals has been a losing battle with the murder of Jairo Mora and the turtle egg drug trade.

Let’s hope that Sea Shepherd can bring some order to this battle.

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