COSTA RICAN president Luis Guillermo Solís has been named “Shark Enemy of the Year” by Sharkproject International .
The acerbic accolade is given each year to a public figure deemed by environmental groups to have done the most to hinder protections for global shark species Solís did not attend the award ceremony in Germany reports The Tico Times.
Environmental groups announced Solís’ nomination for the “award” in November with a full-page advertisement in the daily newspaper La Nación. Among the reasons they listed for the nomination were the Solís administration’s promise to fishing groups that it would no longer support additional protections of shark species in international conventions and the adjustment of minimum catch size requirements.
The Solís administration has rejected the award, and claimed its new shark fishing policies are an attempt to alleviate coastal poverty.
Solís is the second Costa Rican president to receive the Shark Enemy of the Year Award, following former President Abel Pacheco in 2006, who was criticized for failing to act against the country’s then-rampant shark-finning industry.
In 2013, Solís’ predecessor, President Laura Chinchilla, was given the positive Shark Guardian of the Year Award, for closing down shark-finning operations on the Costa Rican Pacific coast.