Costa Rica and California are the winners of the SHARK AWARDS 2016
From the show stage of the BOOT (Boat) trade fair in Düsseldorf, the international shark protection organisation SHARKPROJECT introduced the winners of this year's SHARK ENEMY and SHARK GUARDIAN awards. These are the only shark protection awards in the world. The jury is made up of 31 marine protection organisations. And the jury unanimously agreed:
SHARK GUARDIAN – shark protector of the year – is the state of California. Awarded for its consistent implementation and control of the law passed in 2012 prohibiting shark fin trade. Prior to the presentation of the award, SHARKPROJECT strictly monitored the implementation of the law in the years after the original announcement. Conclusion: California is exemplary in the pursuit of infringements on the law. Prior to 2012, California was the world's second largest importer of shark fins. In banning trade, the state has made a significant, international statement. The award is presented by a US partner organisation of SHARKPROJECT.
Unfortunately, there is also another side. One that is more than just negative. Its name: Costa Rica. Due to its geographic location and the country's rampant corruption problem, Costa Rica was one of the hotspots of the shark fin trade. For this reason, the country received a SHARK ENEMY AWARD in 2006. It was critical of the policies of the former President Abel Pacheco. In 2013, with Present Laura Chinchilla Miranda, a process of rethinking occurred. She prohibited shark fin trade and turned Costa Rica into one of the world's leading shark protecting nations. For this reason, she won the SHARK GUARDIAN award in 2013. So everything was good? Well, only until he showed up. Luis Guillermo Solis – the current President of the Central American country. He is, based on the jury's opinion (consisting of 31 international marine protection organisations), the SHARK ENEMY of the year. For the second time since 2006, the country therefore receives the negative award for its non-existent marine protection efforts. The President receives a bright red map, handed over by 31 international marine protection organisations.
The reason is the complete political turnaround in the country's shark protection efforts. All of the legally approved measures for the protection of the sharks were systematically cancelled by President Solis. On the contrary, his government passed several new laws and ordinances that promote shark fishing and the shark fin trade.
The SHARK ENEMY award will be presented by the SHARKPROJECT partner organisation PRETOMA in San José.