Poker Players Help Save Sharks

by | May 27, 2008

Poker players in the Latin American Poker Tournament, held from May 22 to 24 in San José Costa Rica, raised vital funds for a campaign against shark finning that eventually totalled slightly over $21K. The initiative stems from a rare and unique partership between successful Costa Rican businessman and member of Team PokerStars Pro, Humberto Brenes “The Shark”, and the Costa Rican non profit PRETOMA, which has led the fight against shark finning in Central America over the last 6 years. Funds will be used to sponsor PRETOMA’s Shark Conservation Program, to improve shark conservation in Costa Rica and promote their regional management. For details of this alliance visit

Error downloading the picture Responding to Humberto’s call, 150 Tournament players pledged to donate 1% of their profits for the cause. In exchange, Humberto offered to match the total dollar by dollar. PokerStars then matched this sum, which will in turn be matched by the Avina Foundation – effectively turning every player dollar into a total of eight dollars. 23 of the Tournament players reached the finals and made the money, contributing $5,344, which eventually summed a total of $21,376 for PRETOMA.

Shark finning is an inhumane practice which involves cutting off a shark’s fins and discarding the body. Although illegal in many countries including Costa Rica, it causes the death of over 200 million sharks per year and is responsible for a 90% decline in shark populations worldwide during the last 50 years. In Costa Rica, foreign flagged vessels continue to land shark products illegally at private docks, which facilitate the circumvention of shark finning regulations. PRETOMA is fighting to guarantee Costa Rican laws are abided by and to promote national, regional and global shark management.

Error downloading the picture Humberto said: “Costa Rica’s greatest treasure is its natural resources. I want to thank all the players who contributed winnings or made donations. Their support was great and will encourage us to do this again at future tournaments. I am known as “The Shark” and now – through our LAPT San José campaign, I can help protect the real sharks.”

“The private sector can significantly help us increase our impact” expressed Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA. “I want to thank Humberto, PokerStars Pro, and all the poker players for their kind support, all of whom I hope to turn into shark advocates and establish long term working relationships with in the future”.

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