Mauricio González, recently appointed directive at Incopesca, has ties with the sea ships Franju II and III which were spotted several times invading the Cocos Island National Park sea area.

January 9, 2012 –San José, Costa Rica

The immediate intervention of Incopesca and the destitution of its Board of Directors, is the recommendation of (The Front for Our Seas), delivered today through a letter addressed to Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla and the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Gloria Abraham.

The recommendation is based on the latest political developments taking place in the bosom of Incopesca, which demonstrates that fisheries policies are still a long way from real change, in spite of the positive marine conservation actions taken by the Executive Branch over the last two years.

Among the positive actions, the Front For Our Seas highlights the closure of private docks to foreign fleets, the creation of the Sea Mounts Marine Management Area, the inclusion of hammerhead sharks in Appendix II of CITES, the destitution of Incopesca’s Vicepresident due to an inherent conflict of interests, and the recent issue of the Comptrollership´s Report (DFOE-EC-IF-14-2012) (Government Accountability Office) which exposed a number of anomalies surrounding the definition of national fisheries policies.

The Front for Our Seas complains nonetheless, that the elaboration of the National Fisheries Development Plan, soon to be published, was performed by two well known consultants, both of whom since 2003 have vehemently defended Incopesca’s policies related to the use of private docks by foreign fleets, the use of shark finning control systems that allows the separation of the fins from the body, and the use of the Association of Biologists to oversee illegal foreign fleet landings at private docks. Furthermore, the Front denounced the recent appointment of fishing entrepreneur Mauricio Gonzalez as a Board Member of Incopesca, who also happens to be responsible for three longline vessels, which together accumulate over 40 reports for invading the protected waters of Cocos Island National Park.

Finally, the Front for Our Seas reminded the President and the Minister that an intervention of the institution is technically justified, based on the Reports issued by the Presidential Commission on Marine Governance and the Comprtollership of the Republic, which exposed the need to reform the institution and the lack of technical considerations when granting licenses.

“We’ve had to resort once and again to the Courts, the Legislative Assembly, the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the Comprtollership of the Republic, just to change the capricious policies established by these consultants, whom for years simply decided to ignore the best scientific information and national legislation” clarified Randall Arauz of Pretoma, a member organization of the Front For Our Seas. “I don’t see why it would be any different now, we will have to wait for the publication of their Plan”, warned Arauz.

“The appointment of Mauricio González as a Board member of Incopesca is proof of the tremendous forces that are resisting the efforts of the Government of Laura Chinchilla to fully develop the Blue Agenda, and we are even more worried that the Minister of Agriculture seems to not mind much about these appointments” explained Andrés Jiménez, Coordinator of the Front For Our Seas, “An intervention of Incopesca would give the necessary means to the President to clear the path of the stale private interests that have ruled this institution up to this very day.” sentenced Jiménez.

“The time has come to define the political reforms needed for Incopesca to finally ensure the protection of the public interest” announced Leonora Jiménez, spokeswoman of the Front For Our Seas. . “I call on all Costa Ricans to support an immediate intervention of Incopesca, as marine resources belong to all of us, ” said Jiménez..

The Front For our Seas is a group of organizations of the civil society that works to improve the administration of marine resources through a series of legal, scientific, political, and advocacy approaches, that lead to an improved management of marine resources. It promotes the reform of Incopesca in such a way that it responds to the objectives for which the institution was created: the protection of the public interest and the sustainable use of fishery resources.

The eight organizations, Pretoma, Fundación Keto, Fundación Promar, International Student Volunteers Inc., Sea Save Foundation, The Leatherback Trust, UESPRA, Widecast, as well as interested citizens who integrate the Front For Our Seas, enjoy ample experience on environmental education, research, conservation and defense of the environment.

For more information:

Andrés Jiménez: andresjmo@gmail.com, celular: 8831 3373

Randall Arauz: rarauz@pretoma.org, celular: 8344 3711

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