With the objective of having first-hand data that allows making the best decisions and implementing more actions regarding longline fishery in Costa Rica, the Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA), the National Longline Fishing Sector and Traders and Exporters joined since last year, in order to have a more detailed analysis of the fishing biological information, which has been collected for several years.
INCOPESCA and the National Longline Fishing Sector, together with the renowned Mexican company Servicios Integrales de Recursos Biológicos, Acuáticos y Ambientales (SIRBAA), carried out the study “Analysis of the information on the fishery of large pelagics of commercial interest captured and landed by the fleets that operate inside and outside the exclusive economic zone (ZEE) of the Pacific of Costa Rica”.
Among other data, the fishing landings collected in the Landing Inspection Forms (FID) were taken into account, as a result of the inspections that INCOPESCA has carried out on 100% of the medium-scale and advanced commercial fleet between 2005 and 2020. With this information it has been possible to determine which species are most captured, in which polygons, in which seasons, of what size, among other information.
A before and after
“This analysis marks a before and after for the fishery in Costa Rica, since it shows how the productive sector and the institutional framework are seeking to guarantee the sustainability of the species and of the fishing sector itself,” said Heiner Méndez, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
For his part, Oscar Zamora, researcher and General Director of SIRBAA, S.C., stated that the main objectives of the analysis were to describe the current state of the fisheries on the large pelagic populations subject to exploitation, to identify biological indicators of the main species, to analyze the spatio-temporal distribution of the catch and increase knowledge of the behavior of the 21 recorded species.
“Among the data we analyze are the percentage of the catch, the composition of the catch by functional group, historical landings by fleet, among others,” added Zamora.
The analyzed data will allow INCOPESCA and the fishing sector to identify the status of the species, review the annual tons that have been landed and make decisions regarding the management of the fishery, better administration, conservation and sustainable use of these species.
Another point that was analyzed based on the behavior of the species was the temporality of the captures in those years. This information will be key to continue analyzing the behavior of these species and thus be able to use these data to plan a true fisheries management in Costa Rica.
Also, data from biological samplings between 2015 and 2019, registered by the INCOPESCA Research Department, were analyzed with the aim of standardizing the reference lengths by functional groups. The trend of the average catch size by species was reviewed.
A positive result
“A very positive result of the analysis is that the species richness was identified, which shows that the fishery is having access to very defined species,” added Zamora. In total, 22 species were analysed, namely 12 sharks, 4 billfishes and 6 tuna and tuna-like species.
Another of the objectives of this analysis was to verify respect for the fishing grounds of decree 38681 MAG-MINAE, of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Pacific of Costa Rica, for which the location of the fishing fleet sets was analyzed.
Finally, with the aim of increasing knowledge about the fisheries, tuna and related species, some technical sheets were made with all the information. For Mauricio González, executive director of the Longline Fishing Sector, this analysis is a great advance for the fishing fleet that will allow us to take the best actions and implement best practices.
For his part, Heiner Méndez Barrientos, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, concluded that they will make the most of this analysis, making this input active and participatory, working to improve the development of fisheries and that the sectors involved assume their role in advising and decision making.