Costa Rican fishermen will create Central America’s largest “responsible fishing area” near the Osa Peninsula, in the southwestern part of the country.
The Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) said Friday that it will collaborate with the Costa Rican Federation of Fishing Tourism (FECOPT) and seven other fishing organizations in an attempt to make the Golfo Dulce, the gulf on the eastern side of the Osa Peninsula, the largest responsible fishing area in Central America. The zone will cover 750 square kilometers.
The statement comes on the heels of 10 months of investigation in the region aimed at improving fishing practices. On Aug. 7, Incopesca and collaborating organizations began research into the region’s fishing practices in an effort to reduce contamination, diversify the catch, reduce the fishing of potentially endangered species, increase the sustainability of the fishery, and raise funds to support their efforts.
According to Incopesca, 190 fishermen in the area have agreed to modify their fishing practices and tools in order to work in a more environmentally friendly manner.
“If we don’t unite to take care of our (fishery), it will soon collapse,” said Víctor Julio Rocha, the President of the National Federation of Fishing Organizations (Fenopea). “We know that this is the first time in the history of our country that a group of humble fishermen have been in charge of a very big responsibility.”
Golfo Dulce fishermen have been concerned about diminishing catches in recent years. They claim that 10 years ago they could catch 100 kilograms of shrimp on a single outing, but that since then the number of shrimp has declined between 60 to 70 percent.
The Golfo Dulce area is of the most naturally dynamic marine regions in the country and is home to a variety of whale, dolphin and shark species, including the tiger shark and whale shark.