• Costa Rica Real Estate

First shrimp trawling license expires Wednesday, following ban in Costa Rica

February 18, 2014

Costa Rica will begin slowly phasing out shrimp trawling Wednesday with the first permanent expiration of a trawling license. The Capitán Bonilla will become the first vessel forced to discontinue the practice following an August court ruling that declared shrimp trawling unconstitutional.

According to Luis Dobles, executive director of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA), the Capitán Bonilla is the first of 44 licensed ships to hang up its trawling nets. But one environmental group claims INCOPESCA illegally renewed three licenses in August, three days after the court ruling.

“INCOPESCA says this is the first license to expire, but we have all of the information to prove that they violated the constitutional ruling,” Viviana Guitiérrez, regional political manager for the conservation group MarViva, told The Tico Times.

According to court documents, MarViva filed an official complaint with the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court in September calling for an annulment of the renewed licenses, which would otherwise expire in 2019.

Dobles denied the allegations and said that the last active shrimp trawling license registered with the institute expires in 2018.

Three other licenses are set to expire in March, but INCOPESCA is hoping to push through a new law that would restore trawling by the end of the month.

“We want to regulate shrimp trawling instead of banning it,” Dobles said. “The court was very clear in their ruling that trawling is only unconstitutional because it is unsustainable. We can make reasonable restrictions that will make it sustainable.”

Shrimp trawling is condemned by environmental groups worldwide for its destruction of the ocean floor. In Costa Rica, a lack of regulations on trawling has led to massive bycatch rates. According to MarViva, shrimp comprise only about 13 percent of species caught by trawlers.

According to Dobles, bycatch limits and time and depth restrictions would mitigate the negative effects of trawling. A bill before the Legislative Assembly also would require fish exclusion devices on trawling nets. That bill could come up for discussion at the Assembly as early as today.

Even if it passes, INCOPESCA would be allowed to renew only licenses that are currently active, and they would not be allowed to authorize new licenses. This means that the Capitán Bonilla, and any other ship with an expired license before the passage of the law, will be permanently prohibited from trawling.

Despite the additional restrictions, environmental groups and artisanal fishermen still oppose the bill.

“The way we see it, there is no such thing as sustainable shrimp trawling,” Guitiérrez said. “Trawling always requires the destruction of an area. We don’t want to give up even a part of our oceans.”

For a summary of shrimp trawling in Costa Rica see our story: “Future uncertain for shrimp trawling in Costa Rica”

You may be interested

U.S. donates $16,000 to help Costa Rica improve environmental reporting
Costa Rica
25 views
Costa Rica
25 views

U.S. donates $16,000 to help Costa Rica improve environmental reporting

The Tico Times - January 25, 2020

A donation from the U.S. Department of the Interior will help Costa Rica's Environment Ministry (MINAE) receive and track environmental…

In Davos, tourism industry promises less plastic and more sustainability
News
37 views
News
37 views

In Davos, tourism industry promises less plastic and more sustainability

Pol Costa / AFP and The Tico Times - January 24, 2020

Faced with the tons of disposable plastic used by hotels every year, the CO2 emitted by airplanes or the overcrowding…

Meet Costa Rica’s newest NASA figure: Luis Diego Fonseca Flores
Space Ticos
301 views
Space Ticos
301 views

Meet Costa Rica’s newest NASA figure: Luis Diego Fonseca Flores

Bruce Callow - January 24, 2020

Costa Rica may be small, but its people are achieving great things. In this story, contributor Bruce Callow shares an…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!