Randall Arauz’s Goldman Award Speech
Goldman Environmental Prize, 2010
Recipient. Central And South America
Speech pronounced during the Award Ceremony, at the San Francisco Opera House, April 19, 2010.
“When I started Pretoma over 14 years ago, I had no idea WE were going to go so far! And I say “we”, because over the years a team of dedicated conservationists has performed the most diverse of tasks to fulfill our mission, which is to protect, and restore, endangered marine wildlife.
Sadly, shark finning is far from over. Global shark population declines are estimated at 90%, mostly due to shark finning. Governments are drafting “Shark Action Plans” in an effort to reverse the negative trend on shark populations. But NOTHING has been done YET, to actually curtail shark mortality.
More than 100 foreign longline shark finning vessels still operate illegally in private docks of Costa Rica. Recently, investigative journalists have exposed drug trafficking and indentured servitude alongside shark finning at these private docks, whose operators take advantage of lax customs enforcement.
So what’s next?
As with many pressing environmental problems, we have the scientific knowledge to solve them. We must act now!
To restore shark populations, it’s going to take the protection of critical shark habitats through the creation of Marine Protected Areas, and it’s going to take strong fisheries regulations.
At PRETOMA we support small scale sustainable fishermen. We won’t stand for huge industrial foreign fleets wiping out the world’s shark populations!
This is where everyone can help us make a difference. I urge you to call on your representatives to make educated decisions, and support all measures possible to protect sharks. Tell your friends about the problem, especially if you know politically influential people. Sharks need all the help they can get, from all sectors of society.
I would like to thank the Goldman Foundation for this award. It is the fruit of many years of hard work by many people. 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!
I would like to thank my parents and siblings, my lovely wife Isabel and two kids, Daniel and Grisel, as well as Pretoma’s supporters and partners – Todd Steiner, Ricardo Soto, Georgina Domberger, Mario Boza, and 1999 Goldman Prize winner Jorge Varela.
Muchas gracias a todos. Now, its time to get back to saving sharks! I hope you decide to join us!”
—-Watch the Goldman Foundation’s Video detailing Randall Arauz and Pretoma’s workhttp://www.pretoma.org/randall-arauzs-goldman-award-speach/News