Laws with teeth: Slowing shark loss and new coal mines

1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica has outlawed fishing of hammerhead sharks. Despite being protected since 2014 under the CITES convention, the sharks have been caught and sold in the country for years.

Local biologist Randall Arauz began raising awareness of shark finning in 2003. And since 2011, education campaigns in China have sharply lowered consumption of shark fins as a food of status and celebration, but demand has increased in other parts of Asia. For the great hammerhead shark alone, global populations have declined more than 80% over the past 70 years.

Why We Wrote This

In our roundup, progress in environmental protection is made by legal means in Costa Rica and Australia. And in Bangladesh, planning for the future includes opening the capital’s first rapid transit stations.

The presidential decree comes 10 years after Costa Rica itself had requested CITES protection of a hammerhead species. In 2018, the country established a hammerhead sanctuary in Golfo Dulce, a key gulf used by the sharks to reproduce. And in 2020, the Supreme Court struck down a former president’s legalization of the shark trade.   

Given its mixed record on shark conservation, wildlife advocates have questioned Costa Rica’s commitment  – but are hopeful that February’s decree has teeth.
Sources: Mongabay, The Goldman Environmental Prize,, The Washington Post

2. Canada

A new helmet makes outdoor sports safer for Sikh children. Ontario resident Tina Singh, who is Sikh and an occupational therapist, designed the helmet after her children started riding bicycles, and she realized that standard helmets didn’t fit over the patkas worn by Sikh boys to cover their hair. Her design meets safety certifications for use with bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and in-line skates, and is shaped to accommodate a patka. Ms. Singh wants to expand her designs to work for hockey players and remove barriers for athletes with other needs.

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