Major Environmental Award Given to Shark Finning Opponent
Randall Arauz of Costa Rica, Pretoma’s president and founder, was announced as a 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize winner on Earth Day (April, 22) in San Francisco, California. He received the prestigious award for his tireless work to draw international attention to and end the inhumane and environmentally catastrophic shark finning industry in Costa Rica.
“Shark finning is not only cruel; it is irresponsible and unsustainable fishing at its highest degree” said Randall during the filming of the award video detailing his work. “In spite of this, it has been close to impossible to attain any international binding management and conservation measures to curtail this practice,” he mentioned alluding to the 8 years of his life he’s dedicated to stopping this practice. His personal quest began after watching a finning video that a colleague filmed aboard a longline fishing boat in the Galopagoes Islands, Ecuador.
Announced every April to coincide with Earth Day, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the six inhabited continental regions: 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. Receiving a Goldman Award is considered to be the highest honor an individual can obtain for environmental work.
Randall used his acceptance speech to urge more people to get involved with shark conservation efforts. “Call on your representatives to make educated decisions, and support all measures possible to protect sharks”, he said to a crowd of 3,000 invited guests at San Francisco’s Oprah House, “sharks need all the help they can get, from all sectors of society”.
Because of the sensitive nature of shark finning and the powerful images depicted in his video, organizers decided to end the ceremony with this environmental exclamation point. And Randall chose to end his speech in this manner, “I hope this award serves as an inspiration to other small NGOs working with few resources. It is sometimes overwhelming to battle major economic interests on shoestring budgets, and disappointment may come easily, but we must hang in there!” Inspiring words from someone who has dedicated so much of himself to saving sharks.
Watch the Goldman Environmental Prize video on Randall’s work to stop shark finning in Costa Rica.