SHARKPROJECT has in 2016 yet again awarded its positive and negative Shark-Protection prize to those people who have either been conspicuous for their especially commendable or outrageous policies.
As usual, the winners of this year’s SHARK ENEMY- and SHARK GUARDIAN- Awards were announced live on the Dive-Tower-Show-Stage in Hall 3 at the world’s biggest watersport trade-fair “boot” in Düsseldorf. These awards are the only shark-preservation awards worldwide.
The votes for the 2016 SHARK ENEMY AWARDS were cast (as reported) by 31 international marine preservation organisations.
SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year 2016 is the US State of California.
The US State of California was awarded the prize for its consistent implementation and control of the law, passed in 2012, banning shark fin trading. California has been outstanding in the pursuit and prosecution of offences against this act – by no means a matter of course when compared with the worldwide picture. Before 2012, this state was the second biggest shark fin importer and distributor in the world, so this course has set a major international example.
SHARKPROJECT closely monitored the implementation of the law in the years following its introduction before choosing the AWARD- winner. The AWARD will be presented by one of our US partner organisations.
Just a few thousand miles south, the picture looks very different – in Costa Rica.
SHARK ENEMY of the Year 2016 – is Luis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa Rica.
Because of its geographical position and its corrupt politicians Costa Rica was one of the hotspots for shark fin trading. Ten years ago, the then president Abel Pacheco was awarded the SHARK ENEMY AWARD 2006 for his politics – especially in relation to hidden private docks, which could function outwith the control of the law. There was a change of thinking after the succession of President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. She banned trading in shark fins and the use of secret unloading points, making Costa Rica one of the leading shark protection nations worldwide. In spite of remaining shortcomings, she was awarded the SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year 2013 (along with Sir Richard Branson).
Unfortunately, due to inner-political pressure, she was not re-elected. Worse was to come! Her successor Luis Guillermo Solís hastily turned the wheel back and reinstated the conditions of a decade before. All legally established sanctions for the protection of sharks were removed. Furthermore, the government passed many new laws and regulations which actually promoted the trade in shark fins. All those first positive steps which had been taken in Costa Rica to protect sharks were more than completely reversed.
In the opinion of the jury of 31 marine conservation organisations, this qualified him for the title of SHARKENEMY OF THE YEAR. These policies should be publicly shown the red card. The nomination back in November, was controversially discussed on both national and international levels. Costa Rica did not back down.
The SHARK ENEMY-AWARD, which no-one seemed anxious to pick up in Düsseldorf, will be presented to President Solís by our SHARKPROJECT partner organisation PRETOMA in San José.
Pictures/Logos (c) SHARKPROJECT