2010 – Randal Arauz


pristagare_2010_20101119_1663243267

Award Winner 2010

OCEAN SCIENTISTS SHARE ONE MILLION SWEDISH CROWNS

Oceans are essential to existence of all life on Earth, and yet perhaps mankind’s most ruthless exploitation is taking place in the seas through overfishing, pollution and other environmental impact that damages biological diversity and the very basis for life both underwater and for humans on land.

For this reason The Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development in 2010 goes to two prominent persons who have in different ways strongly contributed to solutions for sustainable relations with our oceans.

The prize, one million Swedish crowns, will be divided equally between Ken Sherman from the U.S.A. and Randal Arauz from Costa Rica.

Randall Arauz
Randall Arauz, a conservationist who founded the Costa Rican non-profit NGO PRETOMA (the program for the restoration of sea turtles) in 1997, has become a world leader in the work to ban shark finning. PRETOMA is a marine conservation and research organization working to protect ocean resources and promote sustainable fisheries policies in Costa Rica and Central America.

As a turtle biologist and conservationist, Arauz worked with the shrimp industry in Costa Rica to reduce the sea turtle casualties associated with trawling. After some success in introducing new trawling technology to the industry, he learned that long-line fishing boats were also to blame for sea turtle deaths. When Arauz’s friend got a job on a long-line shark fishing boat, Arauz asked him to film the fishing technique. The footage he received of fishermen cutting off the fins of living sharks completely shocked him and sparked his subsequent commitment to stop shark finning in Costa Rica.

The practice of shark finning has been widely criticized as wasteful by conservationists and brutal by animal rights activists. Many species of sharks are now critically endangered. Over the last 50 years, global shark populations have declined by 90% as a result of overfishing, which has been made worse by the growing demand for shark fins.

In 2003, Arauz, using a secretly filmed videotape, exposed a ship illegally landing 30 tons of shark fins, which meant the death of 30,000 sharks, late at night at a private dock. He released the footage to the media, and the resulting shock and outrage from the Costa Rican public and international community galvanized support for Arauz’s ensuing campaign to enforce the country’s existing laws against shark finning. In February 2005 a new national fisheries law went into effect that specifically prohibits shark finning and mandates all sharks to be landed with their fins attached. The new law also calls for fines and jail terms for those caught landing shark fins at Costa Rican ports.

Arauz has also filed suit against the Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA) and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) at Costa Rica’s highest court for failing to abide by the law. In 2006, the court ruled in PRETOMA’s favor.

Throughout his campaign in Costa Rica, Arauz has worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Congress to urge the UN to ban shark finning and to stop all long-line fishing in the eastern Pacific’s international waters. Since the UN recommendation was issued, Arauz has represented Costa Rica at several UN meetings and has called for a complete ban on shark finning. In 2007, he participated in a UN Convention of Migratory Species meeting as an official Costa Rican delegate and was instrumental in the election of Costa Rica as a member of a five-country commission on international cooperation for the protection of sharks.

Announced every April to coincide with Earth Day, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Randall Arauz received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010.

Presentation

Randall Arauz, a conservationist who founded the Costa Rican non-profit NGO PRETOMA (the program for the restoration of sea turtles) in 1997, has become a world leader in the work to ban shark finning. PRETOMA is a marine conservation and research organization working to protect ocean resources and promote sustainable fisheries policies in Costa Rica and Central America.

As a turtle biologist and conservationist, Arauz worked with the shrimp industry in Costa Rica to reduce the sea turtle casualties associated with trawling. After some success in introducing new trawling technology to the industry, he learned that long-line fishing boats were also to blame for sea turtle deaths. When Arauz’s friend got a job on a long-line shark fishing boat, Arauz asked him to film the fishing technique. The footage he received of fishermen cutting off the fins of living sharks completely shocked him and sparked his subsequent commitment to stop shark finning in Costa Rica.

The practice of shark finning has been widely criticized as wasteful by conservationists and brutal by animal rights activists. Many species of sharks are now critically endangered. Over the last 50 years, global shark populations have declined by 90% as a result of overfishing, which has been made worse by the growing demand for shark fins.

In 2003, Arauz, using a secretly filmed videotape, exposed a ship illegally landing 30 tons of shark fins, which meant the death of 30,000 sharks, late at night at a private dock. He released the footage to the media, and the resulting shock and outrage from the Costa Rican public and international community galvanized support for Arauz’s ensuing campaign to enforce the country’s existing laws against shark finning. In February 2005 a new national fisheries law went into effect that specifically prohibits shark finning and mandates all sharks to be landed with their fins attached. The new law also calls for fines and jail terms for those caught landing shark fins at Costa Rican ports.

Arauz has also filed suit against the Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA) and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) at Costa Rica’s highest court for failing to abide by the law. In 2006, the court ruled in PRETOMA’s favor.

Throughout his campaign in Costa Rica, Arauz has worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Congress to urge the UN to ban shark finning and to stop all long-line fishing in the eastern Pacific’s international waters. Since the UN recommendation was issued, Arauz has represented Costa Rica at several UN meetings and has called for a complete ban on shark finning. In 2007, he participated in a UN Convention of Migratory Species meeting as an official Costa Rican delegate and was instrumental in the election of Costa Rica as a member of a five-country commission on international cooperation for the protection of sharks.

Announced every April to coincide with Earth Day, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Randall Arauz received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010.

Motivation

OCEAN SCIENTISTS SHARE ONE MILLION SWEDISH CROWN

Oceans are essential to existence of all life on Earth, and yet perhaps mankind’s most ruthless exploitation is taking place in the seas through overfishing, pollution and other environmental impact that damages biological diversity and the very basis for life both underwater and for humans on land.

For this reason The Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development in 2010 goes to two prominent persons who have in different ways strongly contributed to solutions for sustainable relations with our oceans.

The prize, one million Swedish crowns, will be divided equally between Ken Sherman from the U.S.A. and Randal Arauz from Costa Rica.

Links

Links
Randall Arauz works for PRETOMA. Read more about them here.
http://www.pretoma.org/

In 2010 Randdall Arauz won the Goldman Prize.
http://www.goldmanprize.org/2010/southcentralamerica

To know more about Large Marine Ecosystems, read here!
http://www.lme.noaa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=28