For over 20 years world fisheries have been in decline due to overfishing (Daniel Pauly, Envirornmental News Service).  The United Nations currently reports that 70% of the world’s fisheries are over fished or about to be so, compared to o­nly 5% reported 40 years ago.
The response of official fisheries administrators around the world to the ever decreasing catches has been to increase fishing effort, either as more and better boats (even the introduction of foreign fleets), or the use of improved and destructive technology, without contemplating the sustainability of the exploited fishery resources nor the mid and long term effects o­n endangered marines species (sea birds, sea turtles, marine mammals, sharks).  The lack of regulations, or the lack of political will to implement them, are factors that contribute to the current crisis.

One of the main current concerns is the expansion of highs seas longline fishery activities during the last 20 years.  Pelagic waters, recently pristine, are now subject to an intensive industrial fishing effort, unprecedented in history.

Due to an increasing international concern over the destiny of existing fishery resources, the survival of critically endangered marine species, and global social well being, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations promulgated the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in 1995.  The Code is voluntary, but it is based o­n international law (UN Convention o­n the Law of the Sea, 1982).  TheInternational Plan of Action for the Management of Sharks stems from the Code.

PRETOMA works actively with the private fishery sector of Costa Rica in the implementation of the Code of Responsible Fisheries of FAO.
  • TED Project.  We work with the Puntarenas Chamber of Fishermen, designing and implementing the use of Turtle Excluder Devices.  This technology allows shrimp fishermen to carry out their operations without catching and killing sea turtles.
  • Playas del Coco.  We are working with Papagayo Seafood and Nutria Marina S.A. in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, evaluating the impact of the pelagic LONGLINE FISHERY o­n sea turtles and sharks.  Furthermore, we are introducing technology to facilitate the release of marine organisms captured with hooks, thus mitigating the impact of longline fishing.
  • Artisinal Fisheries Project.  We are working with the Association of Fishermen of Punta Guiones, who operate within the Marine Protected Area of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, evaluating the impact of this fishery o­n the marine resources that the Wildlife Refuge protects.  Likewise, we are introducing technology to facilitate the release of marine organisms captured with hooks, thus mitigating their impact of their fishery.
  • SATELLITE TRACKING.  We are satellite tracking sea turtles that were captured by longlines and then freed.  This technology helps us determine post hooking mortality and the efficiency of technologies designed to free sea turtles from hooks unharmed.  We will soon carry out similar studies o­n sharks.
  • Central America.  PRETOMA is currently directing a project to foster responsible fisheries along the Pacific coast of Central America.
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