Artisinal fishermen condition minimum catch size to restriction of shrimp trawling fishing
(February 4, 2013)
Convened by the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) last January 30th in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, leaders of 12 artisinal fishing associations listened to the institutional proposal to impose minimum catch size limits for some commercial fish species that they extract. Even though the artisinal fishermen are convinced that these measures are necessary to warrant the sustainability of their fishery, they question its efficiency without a ban on shrimp trawl operations. (Read artisinal fishermen statement, spanish only).
Incopesca’s sudden management proposal responds to the recent report of the General Controllership of the Republic’s Report (No. DFOE-EC-IF-14-2012) “Special INCOPESCA Audit Report Related to the fulfillment of its Functions Regarding Marine Resource Conservation,” which severely criticizes INCOPESCA for not establishing minimum catch size limits as a fisheries management measure.
“The Imposition of these measures without stopping the shrimp trawlers means the extinction of artisinal fishers, and along with them, a major part of the cultural heritage of coastal areas of Guanacaste would also dissapear”, complained Dehivis Jimenez Chaverry, artisinal fishers of Playas del Coco.
“If INCOPESCA is concerned over the sustainability of artisanal fisheries, it must ban destructive shrimp trawling immediately,” stated Randall Arauz, of the Costa Rican organization PRETOMA. “INCOPESCA’s proposal is a slap in the face to the public interest, and far from promoting the sustainability of fisheries, it promotes overfishing in favor of private interests, like always ,” denounced Arauz.
Adding to the request to immediately restrict shrimp trawl operations at least 6 maritime miles offshore, between Cabo Blanco to the South and the Nicaraguan border to the North, the artisinal fishers request a time frame for the total implementation of the measure.