The Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA) was forced to void the agreement that expanded the list of wild species for commercial exploitation.
Amidst much criticism, the decision was confirmed by Victor Carvajal Porras, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, and Franz Tattenbach, Minister of the Environment, both of whom are members of the Institute’s Board of Directors.
The new species list published on April 28 in the Diario Oficial La Gaceta included fish, crustaceans, algae, zooplankton, cnidarians, echinoderms, sponges, annelids, reptiles, amphibians, and mollusks.
“We had the Board of Directors meeting today to discuss the issue. As soon as we arrived, we reviewed the agenda and went over the agreement so it would be annulled as of today,” they said.
Officials confirmed that the Board agreed that the list should now be sent to the technical-scientific committee for further review.
The Minister of Agriculture, Victor Carvajal Porras; the Minister of Environment and Energy, Franz Tattenbach Capra; the Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology, and Telecommunications, Paula Bogantes; and the vice-minister of Foreign Trade, Indiana Trejos, were present at the meeting to request adherence to the law and “hold an additional period of consultation.”
“We must ensure sustainable exploitation of resources and their correct use, in harmony between economic activity and the environment. Our objective is to make decisions based on science and technology,” said Carvajal.
During the meeting, it was also agreed to consult with the Scientific Technical Coordination Commission.
The scientific and technical evidence on which the previous agreement was built upon was questioned by biologists from five public universities in the country.
University researchers published a note requesting the repeal of the agreement since they pointed out that the increase from 34 to 234 commercially exploitable species means a considerable setback in Costa Rica’s biodiversity conservation.
“In addition to the irreparable and direct damage to valuable ecosystems, Costa Rica suffers considerable harm to its image as a country dedicated to preserving and responsibly using its flora and fauna, which has repercussions such as serious economic and social deterioration,” they said.