Costa Rica Fisheries In Danger

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – High rates of poverty, poor access to education and competition with large international tuna vessels have local Costa Rican fishermen in a situation that its members consider urgent and requires government assistance.

    “The fisherman is a predator of the sea, he bring in a living every day to support his family and seeing the (bad) situation, it is compelling, (we have) to make it known to the public,” said Fisherman Mauricio Gonzalez, a member of the National Fisheries Sector.

    Gonzalez said that poverty affects between thirty and forty percent of the fishermen, mainly because in recent years large international fishing ships have reduced populations of fish species.

    Part of this situation is evident in the first “Analysis of the Tuna Fishery in the Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone of Costa Rica”, prepared by the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation, based on data from 2002 to 2011 American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT).

    The study has revealed that the international fleet accounts for ninety percent of the tuna fishing in the Pacific of Costa Rica. Between 2002 and 2011 as much as 253,000 metric tons of tuna were removed in the 243,842 square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone of Costa Rica in the Pacific.

    Gonzalez explained that Costa Rican fishermen have the exclusive right within the twelve-mile territorial sea of the country, but that because the scarce resource in this area, they have to go out and compete with the big tuna boats to the exclusive economic zone, and even further away into international waters.

    “It’s impossible to compete with vessels of both draft and technology,” he said.

    The executive director of the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation (Fecop), Enrique Ramirez, he told EFE that it is estimated that Costa Rica perceived value per tonne of tuna caught by the international fleet is 37 dollars on average (about 28.5 euros), while if caught by local amount to at least $ 6,000 (4,600 euros).

    Ramirez explained that the figure of $ 37 was obtained from the division between Costa Rica received from the sale of fishing licenses and the tonnes of tuna caught between 2002 and 2011.

    In this situation, the Costa Rican fishing sector is preparing a project to be submitted to the Government, which seeks to regulate the fishing areas, in order to recover the populations of tuna and other species and favor local fishermen.

    According to Ramirez, the zoning by a fishery management plan that will improve tuna catch for fishermen without competing with Costa Rican international fleet and improve their social and economic status.

    The project will take into account information such as the areas where it is known that there is the largest tuna and the smallest as well as the places that are being affected 57 other species.

    Further, the plan is to establish a wider area exclusive fishing area for the fleet of Costa Rica, protected sites for the recovery of fish stocks and increased regulations to the international fleet.

    .The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
    San Jose Costa Rica

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