Environmental Ministry Rejects Pretoma’s Appeal

(April 30, 2009 – San José, Costa Rica)

Costa Rica’s Environmental, Energy, and Telecommunications Ministry (Minaet) formally rejected Pretoma’s appeal that requested the minister reconsider Setena’s decision to approve Granjas Atuneras de Golfito S.A’s. tuna farm project (R-J-185-2009).  With this decision, Minaet has granted the project’s definitive environmental viability, thus laying ruin to the administrative process designed to duly evaluate the environmental impacts of projects such as this one.

The Golfo Dulce without tuna farms

The Golfo Dulce without tuna farms

Last February 16, Setena strengthened its support for the project by rejecting Pretoma’s original appeal.  The appeal was filed because in Pretoma’s view Setena’s ruling did not adhere to the Constitutional Court’s order in 2006 to more thoroughly investigate the project’s potential environmental impacts, including metabolic waste produced by the tuna in captivity, and whether or not the Golfo Dulce’s currents would sweep this waste into the gulf, which could cause serious impacts to the fragile ecosystem.

To make matters worse, neither Minaet nor Setena acknowledges the project’s possible impacts to sea turtle populations that nest on beaches in and around Punta Banco (the would-be site of the tuna cages).

“We don’t agree with Minaet’s final decision because the inconsistencies that led to the Constitutional Court’s suspension of the project have yet to be resolved”, said Andy Bystrom from Pretoma. “Because of Minaet’s conscious decision to dismantle the administrative process to please the initiatives of an international corporation, we will now pursue other options designed to halt bullish projects such as this one.”

Pretoma is not the only entity with serious reservations towards the project. The overwhelming majority of local residents are fearful of the tuna farm’s potential impacts on the Golfo Dulce. In the event that the tuna waste is carried into the gulf, levels of organic contamination would increase causing damage to the areas two largest sources of employment: sustainable artisanal fishing and ecological tourism.

“This disappointing news comes as no surprise, as the political decision to allow the development of the project despite its environmental concerns was taken since 2004”, said a frustrated Randall Arauz, Pretoma’s President.  “It’s clear that community members, among with artisanal and sports fishermen, and ecotourism operators, fear that the tuna farm project will adversely affect their way of life”, he added.

Community members of the Golfo Dulce have organized an event this coming May 23-24 in Pavones, called “Let’s Save the Golfo Dulce”.  DON’T MIISS IT, and say NO to the Tuna Farms.

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    Environmental Ministry Rejects Pretoma’s Appeal (April 30, 2009 – San José, Costa Rica) Costa Rica’s Environmental, Energy, and Telecommunications Ministry (Minaet) formally rejected Pretoma’s appeal that requested the minister reconsider Setena’s decision to approve Granjas Atuneras de Golfito S.A’s. tuna farm project (R-J-185-2009).  With this decision, Minaet has granted the project’s...