Environmentalists protest shark fishing in Nicaragua

Managua, April 18 - An environmental group is calling for a greater government presence in Nicaragua's Caribbean waters following the discovery of a boat with dozens of dead sharks aboard in Little Corn Island.

Complaints have been filed with the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, or Marena, and the Nicaraguan Aquaculture and Fishing Institute about the shark slaughter, the Nicaraguan Foundation for Sustainable Development, or Fundenic-SOS, said.

"We need a greater presence of the authorities in the area because this is what we managed to find. We do not know what is happening in the rest of the Caribbean," Fundenic-SOS biologist Fabio Buitrago told EFE.

"Up to now, we have only gotten a response from the Marena, which asked us to provide information about the boat and its captain," Buitrago said.

Shark fishing is not illegal in Nicaragua, but fishermen violate the law when they practice non-selective fishing by cutting the fins off sharks and tossing them back into the water alive.

"Shark finning", the controversial practice of slicing off a hooked shark's fins and then dumping the dead or injured animal into the water to save space, is banned in many countries.

The illegal trade in shark fins, which are considered a delicacy in Asia, is threatening some species with extinction. (IANS)

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