44 members question board of managers procedures

San José, Costa Rica – February 9, 2017

Yesterday, 44 members from the Costa Rican Biologists Association sent a letter to the Association’s President asking for information regarding the procedures and criteria used to assign the Association’s representative to the CITES Board of Scientific Authority Representatives (CRACCITES) and its Non-permanent Hammerhead Shark Committee, in addition to the mechanisms in place that guarantee the Association’s position reflects its members’ collected interests. The Association’s board of managers named the biologist Álvaro Segura Hernández as its CRACCITES and shark committee representative without consulting its own members.

The Non-permanent Hammerhead Shark Committee will issue a recommendation to CRACCITES on whether or not it should authorize a shipment of 690 kg of hammerhead shark fins solicited by the Puntarenas, Costa Rica fin exporter Smalley Development. On February 22 CRACCITES will officially decide the fate of this shipment and an additional 8 tons of hammerhead fins that have been stockpiled in Puntarenas since March 1, 2015 when the export prohibition went into effect.

“There is already an August 2015 study from CRACCITES, with input from the Biologists Association, that recommends the stoppage of all hammerhead shark exports,” said Randall Arauz, member #867. “The Biologists Association has to respect this position or adopt another one based on new scientific information and in agreement with its other members,” continued Arauz.

“The Biologists Association must not take the country’s CITES commitments lightly,” said Mahmood Sasa, member #847. “Our Association has to be transparent when it comes to these kinds of issues, including the export of shark fins from species in the convention’s appendices; and our representative in this and any other committee needs to express the position of the majority of our members,” concluded Sasa.

“I’m calling on the Biologists Association’s sergeant-at-arms to take immediate action on this matter in order to guarantee its members that a democratic and transparent, participative process is being respected,” said Geiner Golfín, member #1608. “Right now we don’t know the Association’s position regarding this delicate issue. We do know that the issue is of high importance to the survival of hammerhead shark populations, but since the topic hasn’t been brought-up for discussion, let alone approved by consensus, where the Associations stands right now is an enigma to everyone” continued Golfín.

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Geiner Golfín, member #1608


Randall Arauz, member #867