Costa Rican Congress rejects proposal to allow fishing operations in Marine Protected Areas.
(San José, Costa Rica. October 24, 2006)
Last October 2nd, the Permanent Commission of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the Costa Rican Congress issued a Negative Majority Ruling against the project “Reform of Articles 9 and 153 of the Fishery and Aquaculture Law, No. 8436”, because it was considered contrary to the principles and dispositions of international law and articles 50 and 80 of the constitution.
The project to reform the recently created Fishery Law (April 2005) was submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture last April 6, and sought the elimination of the legal prohibition to carry out commercial and sport fishing within the boundaries of national parks, biological reserves and natural monuments, as well as the reduction of fines against infractors, as established in article 153 of the current law.
The project was widely discussed during the last months by the Commission, with the participation of the fishery, scientific, academic and environmental sectors. In general, the groups acknowledge that the national fishery sector is suffering its worse crisis in history, but there is no consensus on how to face the situation.
“Clearly, the country must meet a balance, an integral vision for development” explained Congresswoman Maureen Ballestero, President of the Commission. “The issue must be seen with an environmental, economic and social scope, beyond the poverty of a certain sector that has been depressed for a long time now, and it must be acknowledged that Article 9 has had no contribution to this situation.”
“Now is time for the academic, scientific and environmental sectors to work in a coordinated fashion with fishery and governmental sectors to propitiate the restoration of our marine resources and the development of a responsible fashion”, said Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA and Central American Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network TIRN. “The sanctuary provided by marine protected areas in the long run will benefit commercial and recreational fishermen, endangered marine species, and the economy, by allowing population of fish and wildlife to proliferate and repopulate the surrounding waters of our nation, one of our most important assets that benefit coastal communities and the tens of thousands of Costa Ricans who work in the field of tourism”.
A copy of the Commission’s Negative Majority Ruling can be viewed at (Spanish):
The following document was presented by Randall Arauz of PRETOMA and Marcos Quesada of Conservation International at the a meeting of the Permanent Commission of Agriculture and Natural Resources held in the Costa Rican Congress on August 30, 2006 (Spanish).