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On Earth Day, a walk through Costa Rica’s recent environmental history

Earth Day is about celebrating the planet that gives us life. But it's also about taking stock of where we are in terms of making sure life on this planet continues. So with that in mind, here are some of the highlights of Costa Rica's recent environmental history.

American Airlines says it won’t ship shark fins anymore

The airline made the announcement via its Twitter account in response to several queries posed by users of the social media site. The Tico Times confirmed the announcement with the airline’s media office.

Following public outcry, Costa Rica temporarily blocks exports of hammerhead shark fins

The suspension came in response to the controversy sparked after environmental authorities gave permission to the company Smalley Development S.A. to export more than 1,200 kilograms of hammerhead fins on Feb. 16.

Environmentalists demand Costa Rica block exportation of hammerhead shark fins

Environmentalists and administration officials are at loggerheads over what to do with more than 1,200 kilograms of shark fins — the equivalent of about 2,000 hammerhead sharks — caught as bycatch. The disagreement extends to regulations published in February that environmentalists contend threaten endangered shark populations.

Costa Rica joins Ecuador in calling for more protection of endangered shark species

During a meeting for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals last week, members added a record 21 shark, ray and sawfish species to Appendix II of the convention, which includes all "migratory species requiring international protection."

Dead shark finding precedes ‘Black October,’ the worst month for illegal fishing in Costa Rica

Two weeks ago, park rangers at Isla del Coco National Park, located 590 kilometers west of Costa Rica's central Pacific coast, discovered six dead silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) and blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) on longline hooks within the boundaries of the park's protected marine area.

‘Shark Smile’ illuminates stage and sea

Ex-Ánima’s real triumph is its technical sophistication: “Shark Smile” is a “black light” show, a style that started in Europe in the 1960s and has wowed audiences ever since.

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt tiger shark near Costa Rica’s Cocos Island

A whale's got to eat. Undersea Hunter Cruise Director Juan Manuel Camargo and Edwar Herreño caught orcas on tape hunting a tiger shark near their boat in the waters off the remote national park.

Could tide finally be turning for shark fin demand in China?

GUANGZHOU, China – A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ad campaign.

Illegal fishing kills 7 sharks, including endangered scalloped hammerhead, near Cocos Island

Park rangers on June 14 detained a boat fishing illegally near Cocos Island National Park, a protected marine area more than 300 miles from Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. The boat's fishermen had hooked 11 sharks on their longlines before the rangers intervened.

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