Commercial and small-scale fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya has come under heavy restriction this month in an attempt to protect the dwindling fish populations at a time when, according to government studies, the fish are breeding the most.
The Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA), the nation’s fishing authority, designated May, June and October for a partial ban on fishing. According to the regulations, semi-industrial dragnet shrimp fishing is banned completely for certain areas of the gulf, while sardine fishing is limited in areas to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, according to an INCOPESCA statement.
Small-scale fishers are limited to angling with hand-held lines no longer than 500 meters and with no more than 300 hooks. Sportfishing and recreational fishing is not affected by the ban.
INCOPESCA, the Coast Guard and the National Police have planned to patrol the gulf as well as inspect fishing equipment on land. Officials will also be visiting supermarkets and fish markets to prevent the sale of prohibited seafood, which during the fishing ban includes white shrimp from small-scale fishers, and red snapper and corvina caught with prohibited nets.