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Fisheries Sector Launches Campaign to Protect Costa Rica Tuna Fishing

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Costa Rica Fishing BoatThe National Federation of the Fisheries Sector (FENAPES) and the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation (FECOP), launched a campaign to collect signatures to back a proposal to regulate tuna fishing with purse-seine nets in the first 370 nautical miles (662 km) of Costa Rica’s territorial waters.

Under the concept of “Costa Rican Tuna for Costa Rican Fishers”, the Office of the President of the Republic is being requested to establish a six-year moratorium via executive decree to enable Costa Rican fishers to fish for tuna without having to compete with national or international purse-seine fleets in Costa Rica’s exclusive economic zone.

Data from the first analysis of tuna fisheries in Costa Rica’s exclusive economic zone presented last June was based on 2002–2011 data of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

The study revealed that between 2002 and 2011 international tuna fleets caught 253,000 tonnes of tuna in the 243,842 square kilometers of Costa Rica’s Pacific exclusive economic zone.

According to the organizations, the proposal is the first step in promoting fisheries management in the Costa Rican Pacific and ensure responsible fisheries practices that will enable the recovery of the country’s marine and fisheries resources.

Enrique Ramírez, FECOP’s executive director, indicated that in Costa Rica “there is an annual catch potential of 25,000 tonnes of tuna, the majority of which (almost 90%) is being landed in other countries, mainly Ecuador”.

The organizations informed that fisheries will be managed and priority access given to national fishers so as to improve the livelihoods of more than 15,000 families who depend on the activity.

According to FECOP and FENAPES, three fisheries sectors will benefit from the 370-mile proposal: the artisanal, longline and tourist-sport sectors, as well as the environment.

International purse-seine vessels catch 18 times more fish than national ones and use purse-seine nets and fish aggregating devices to catch tuna, having an impact on species such as dolphins, manta rays, sailfish and marlin, immature species, and others.

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