The Minister of Environment and Energy, Franz Tattenbach, confirmed that the Government will carry out new studies on trawling. The Minister hopes these new studies will facilitate the revival of trawl fishing in Costa Rican seas. This was promised by President Rodrigo Chaves during the election campaign.
Tattenbach confirmed the information to local media (La Nacion), at the end of an official ceremony to commemorate the International Environment Day, an event that took place this Monday at the National Museum.
“Shrimp trawling is one more area that will have to go through more technical studies. And, if it can be demonstrated with technical studies that it can be made sustainable, we don’t see any problem,” said the Minister of Environment.
Carlos Alvarado had previously vetoed the Bill of Law. However, the Minister stated that the new studies would not focus on the use of the “AA Costa Rica” net, which caused said project to be rejected by the Alvarado administration.
To promote said unsuccessful legal initiative, the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca) financed technical studies that indicated a decrease in the capture of other species, such as fish and turtles, with a network called AA Costa Rica.
The results of the experiments showed that for every tonne dragged from the seabed, 75% of shrimp and 25% of other species were caught.
Several scientists questioned the way in which the studies were carried out, because they were conducted for a short period of time and were not applied in different times of the year or in different sectors of the seabed.
“You heard clearly what the president said (during the campaign). Costa Rica needs to turn its eyes to the productive sea as well, right,” stressed Franz Tattenbach.
Meanwhile, several environmental sectors consider the proposal to be detrimental to the sea and that Costa Rica should take care of its marine flora and fauna.
Former Congresswoman Paola Vega affirmed “there is no such thing as sustainable trawling.”
“We have been stuck in this discussion for many years now. There is no sustainable trawling and every time a government tries to prove that there is (as it seems to be the case of the last three, including the current one) what is delayed is the modernization of fisheries, an urgent task,” Vega concluded.
The Minister stressed that the government does advocate environmental sustainability, declaring the multinational corridor between Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica a protected area. He also said that they seek to make fishing sustainable, eliminate illegal fishing and provide the population with sustainable fishing techniques.