On February 1st, 2016, Costa Rica officially announced it would support the listing of all proposed shark and ray species during an international conservation meeting being held in Costa Rica in the middle of February 2016.
According to a letter from the Ministry of the Environment, Costa Rica will support the listing of a number of species of sharks and rays at the upcoming Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Migratory Sharks, during the 2nd Meeting of Signatories (MoSII) on the Convention of Migratory Species.
The announcement came after the Ministry of Environment carefully studied two opposite position statements issued last week: one by the Vice Ministry of Oceans supporting the listings, and another by the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute, vehemently opposed.
“We have been supportive of the Vice Minister of Ocean’s position from the very beginning, and we are glad that this position prevailed,” said Randall Arauz, Goldman Prize winner and Turtle Island Restoration Network representative in Costa Rica. “Now is the time to act, and instruments such as the MoU Migratory Sharks provide the tools to improve regional and global conservation for these highly migratory and endangered species.”
Nearly 5,000 people signed a petition organized by Turtle Island calling on Costa Rica to take a leadership role at the upcoming CMS meeting.
Costa Rica’s continued leadership will critical in 2016 as several other major international meetings focusing on shark protections will be occurring later in the year.