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Proposed Bill Would Ensure Sharks are Protected Under Wildlife Laws in Costa Rica

Turtle Island Restoration Network submitted a letter to the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica to support a bill that would return wildlife status to sharks in Costa Rica. As the result of a 2017 government regulation, sharks are currently considered a commercial species — rather than wildlife — and are not protected under the Wildlife Conservation Law. 

“With this proposal, Costa Rica can improve the protection of endangered species such as the silky shark, thresher shark and hammerhead shark,” the letter states. “Species that, in addition to being key to maintaining the health of marine ecosystems, are an emblem of the Costa Rican seas and attract tourists from all over the world that generate important resources for the country.”

A copy of the letter is below. Leer la carta en español.

Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is an organization that for more than 30 years has been dedicated to protecting our oceans and endangered species. We hereby wish to express our support for the project “REFORM OF THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 1 OF THE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT, No. 7317 OF OCTOBER 30, 1992” found under File No. 21754.

Costa Rica has been characterized by being an example to the world in terms of environmental protection. This has been evidenced by decisions such as reversing one of the highest deforestation rates on the planet, cutting dependence on non-renewable energy sources and committing to decarbonize its economy. The country has been a pioneer in integrating nature protection into its development model and this initiative is an opportunity to strengthen actions in that direction.

With this proposal, Costa Rica can improve the protection of endangered species such as the silky shark, thresher shark and hammerhead shark. Species that, in addition to being key to maintaining the health of marine ecosystems, are an emblem of the Costa Rican seas and attract tourists from all over the world that generate important resources for the country.

Precisely recognizing the urgency of establishing protection measures, Costa Rica positioned itself as a leader in the process that included hammerhead sharks in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The approval of this project would allow Costa Rica to continue leading by example and protect its precious natural resources, ensuring the development of this and future generations.

Sincerely,

Todd Steiner, Executive Director