Wednesday 10th October

Following over 10 years of campaigning by 2004 Whitley Gold Award winner, Randall Arauz, and his NGO, PRETOMA, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has signed an executive order securing a blanket ban on shark finning in the Country’s waters.

Previous work by Randall had secured a legal mandate to land sharks in Costa Rica with their fins still attached, however, the law did not ban shark finning out right. Also, under this mandate, the transportation of unattached fins on board ships was still technically legal if they were not landed.  Furthermore, an additional loophole allowed for the importation of fins by foreign fleets to circumvent the fins attached regulation.  This new decree effectively now closes all these loopholes.

“Costa Rica may set an example to the world when it comes to environmental protection, but it must be noted that we had a significant lag when it comes to protecting the oceans,” Chinchilla told reporters at a signing ceremony in Manuel Antonio National Park on the country’s Pacific coast.

Penalties for violating this ban include fines and the cancellation of fishing licenses.

Since winning the Whitley Gold Award in 2004, Randall has gone on to receive Continuation Funding from WFN in 2006, 2007 and 2010 in further support of his outstanding work to protect Costa Rica’s marine life.