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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

Costa Rica Takes a Step Forward in Protecting Sailfish

The Costa Rican Fishing Federation (FECOP), the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), the Costa Rica Tourist Marina Concessionaires Association (CRMAR), the Amateur Fishing Club and Crocodile Bay Resort thank the Minister of Finance, Nogui Acosta Jaén ; the Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce, Francisco Gamboa Soto and the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón Madrigal for excluding the Sailfish from the decree called, “Regulation of the List of Assets that confirm the Basic Tax Basket for the Well-being of Families” (CBTBIF), published in the Gazette.

The attention to the concern about the inclusion of Sailfish in the list is appreciated, since the promotion of commercialization could affect the well-being of families in coastal areas of the country related to the tourism sector.

Tourist and sport fishing is an option for the development of coastal communities, since, according to evidence, it contributes more than $520 million dollars annually to the Costa Rican economy, generates more than 33,000 direct and indirect jobs, and represents 13% of the country’s tourism revenue.

Grethel Fernández Carmona, executive director of CRMAR pointed out that, “for tourist marinas, it is important to eliminate the Sailfish from the list, since, along with other species of billfish, year after year it attracts thousands of Costa Rican and foreign tourists to the 6 marinas approved by the Costa Rican government to date”.

Currently, the Sailfish is declared of tourist interest according to article 76 of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law No8436 and there are some regulatory measures aimed at protecting its abundance, including the export ban, since 2009.

“As the top tourism organization in Costa Rica and faithful to our commitment to the protection and safeguarding of Costa Rica’s natural heritage, this exclusion responds to the importance that this species has for the activities carried out in the tourism sector of our country,” he commented. Shirley Calvo, executive director of Canatur.

These organizations reiterate the agreement with the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica to collaborate in the creation of public policies that promote benefits and development for the coastal communities of the country through the promotion of tourist and sport fishing.

Without a doubt, tourist and sport fishing can be a catalyst for the blue economy of Costa Rica and a vehicle for local economic reactivation.

Note: I would like to thank Damian Martinez for sending in this report and the folks who sent well wishes while I attended my mother’s funeral and spent time with the family in the states. These affairs are always sad, but she was an angel on earth for 99 years and touched the lives of so many in a positive way.

I also want to thank all those who took the time to write to the ministers and helping them understand a live sailfish feeds more Ticos than a dead one.

Report by Damian Martinez and Todd Staley

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