Artisanal fishermen and women oppose movement to repeal decision to end shrimp trawling
Seven organizations and fisher syndicates expressed their distaste for the government led movement to present a bill that would again allow shrimp trawling, a predatory practice that is removing fisheries resources from our coasts.
Artisanal fisher led organizations, in a formal meeting, petitioned the government to respect the Constitutional Court’s ruling of a few weeks ago that prohibits the capture of marine species with trawl nets.
The court’s decision came much to the chagrin of commercial trawl industry members who, through the use of this technology, have significantly impacted marine fauna populations through the capture of bycatch, resulting from this technique that is thrown back into the ocean.
The following is the formal request submitted by the fishers:
1. Over the past few days, the Agriculture Ministry (MAG), the Work Ministry, and INCOPESCA, pressured by members of the shrimping industry, indicated they would present a bill (only weeks after the ruling) in which they will demonstrate how trawling can be performed within sustainability guidelines. We, the artisanal fishing sector, know this is not possible and that in no country do trawls nest exist that are selective and represent a responsible technique to fishing.
2. Only through much effort, and after being denied a public audience, have we been able to publish public service announcements in national newspapers requesting that the government recognize the artisanal fishing crisis; however, we have not received any such response to the likes of the immediate one given to the trawl industry.
3. We are angered by how MAG and Work Ministry representatives fail to see how, if left to continue, the use of trawl nest will eventually do away with the handful of jobs the industry creates, along with the 15 thousand ones occupied by artisanal fishers.
4. It is unacceptable that the Work Ministry does not recognize the poor situations that artisanal fishing communities find themselves in nor that in its declarations fails to even mention us.
5. It is not possible that MAG fails to see how the shrimp trawl fleet has, for the last 10 years, overexploited the resource, forced many of its boats to no longer fish, and caused the loss of multiple jobs.
6. We cannot share in the opinion that the government is creating solutions when we’re not even invited to meetings that the trawl sector is privy to.
7. The problem with our fisheries is a national one, and one that should be fixed through the efforts of all its parties, not through the creation of solutions that “put out fires”. The country should look for responsible fishing techniques and trawling is just the opposite. Furthermore, the country should create sources of alternative employment for coastal areas.
8. We are calling on the authorities not to bow to the influences of pressures of the commercial sector and to make an effort to attend to the artisanal sector and understand our reality. We are asking them to hear us out and to act on behalf of the common interest and not on behalf of a few shrimp industry representatives. Fisheries resources are for all Costa Ricans.
Document drafted by the following organizations:
Syndicate of industrial and artisanal fishers (sitraipa)
Association of District IV Fishers from Quebrada Honda, Puerto Pochote
Local Committee of Nispero Fishers
Local Committee of Colorado Fishers
Syndicate of Puntarenas artisanal fishers union.
Industrial Syndicate of Artisanal Fishers and Annexes (Costa de Pájaros)
Association of Puntarenas Panguero Fishers (ASOPPAPU)