Posts tagged: eco-tourism

Tico wins prize for work to halt shark finning

Photo: Matt Potemsky/Pretoma

A few weeks ago Tico environmental activist Randal Arauz was in San Francisco to claim a Goldman Foundation prize for his work to help stop shark finning in Costa Rica. The prize this year went to six environmental activists around the world; each recipient received US$150,000 to continue their grassroots efforts.

Shark finning is the practice of maiming and killing sharks for their fins, which often bring a very high price, especially in Asian markets, where Shark Fin Soup is considered a delicacy. In 2004, Costa Rica was the world’s third largest exporter of shark products, including 8,000 tons of fins.

Things have improved since 2004, but much work remains to be done. In his acceptance speech Arauz noted,

Sadly, shark finning is far from over. Global shark population declines are estimated at 90%, mostly due to shark finning. … More than 100 foreign longline shark finning vessels still operate illegally in private docks of Costa Rica. Recently, investigative journalists have exposed drug trafficking and indentured servitude alongside shark finning at these private docks, whose operators take advantage of lax customs enforcement.

So what’s next? What can we do? Read the rest of Arauz’s speech to find out.

Arauz is part of PRETOMA, a Costa Rican organization that works to protect the ocean’s resources, including sea turtles and sharks.