On Tuesday, the MarViva Foundation took a significant step towards protecting Costa Rica’s natural resources by filing a lawsuit against the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA). The lawsuit aims to put an immediate stop to trawl fishing in the country, citing concerns about irreparable damage to the environment and the negative impact on small-scale fishermen.
The legality of the permits granted for shrimp trawling has been strongly questioned by academics, scientists, environmentalists, and international organizations. This article explores the foundation’s lawsuit and the shortcomings of INCOPESCA’s approach.
Protecting Natural Resources
The MarViva Foundation’s primary objective in filing the lawsuit is to prevent irreparable harm to Costa Rica’s valuable natural resources. Trawl fishing has been widely criticized for its destructive impact on marine ecosystems, resulting in the indiscriminate capture of marine life and the destruction of vital habitats. By seeking to halt trawl fishing, MarViva aims to preserve the delicate balance of Costa Rica’s marine environment.
Questionable Permits and Methodology
INCOPESCA issued eight shrimp exploitation licenses based on a study that has faced strong scrutiny from various experts. Academics, scientists, and environmentalists have raised concerns about the methodology used by INCOPESCA to grant these permits, asserting that it lacks the necessary scientific and technical rigor. The international community has also expressed reservations about the credibility of the study, further questioning the validity of the permits.
Non-Compliance with Constitutional Requirements
MarViva argues that the permits granted by INCOPESCA fail to meet the requirements established by the Constitutional Chamber in several resolutions. These resolutions outline the minimum components necessary for any scientific research analyzing the social, economic, and environmental viability of trawling in Costa Rica.
Factors such as the reduction of bycatch, ecosystem interactions, pollution, regeneration capacity, and the impact on affected populations must be thoroughly considered. MarViva contends that INCOPESCA’s proposal disregards these requirements, indicating a lack of commitment to sound scientific principles.
Ineffectiveness of INCOPESCA’s Studies
MarViva’s executive director, Erick Brenes, has criticized INCOPESCA’s studies as lacking scientific basis and relevance. He claims that the research proposal submitted by INCOPESCA to the Board of Directors relied on outdated methodologies, inadequate personnel, and a flawed approach. According to Brenes, these shortcomings will prevent the generation of reliable and meaningful data.
This raises concerns about the integrity of the scientific information used to support the decision to grant the trawling licenses.
Ongoing Legal Review
In addition to MarViva’s lawsuit, an appeal filed by environmental lawyer Wálter Brenes is also being reviewed by the Constitutional Chamber. This demonstrates the widespread concern surrounding the issue and the determination of various stakeholders to challenge the authorization of trawl fishing. With both legal actions underway, the court has an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the legality and potential consequences of allowing trawling to continue.
The MarViva Foundation’s lawsuit against INCOPESCA represents a crucial effort to protect Costa Rica’s natural resources and the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen. By contesting the permits granted for shrimp trawling, MarViva seeks to ensure that scientific research and rigorous standards are upheld in decision-making processes.
The ongoing legal review and the engagement of environmental advocates highlight the significance of addressing the concerns raised. Ultimately, this case could have far-reaching implications for the sustainability of fishing practices in Costa Rica and serve as a catalyst for promoting responsible and environmentally conscious approaches to fishing worldwide.