Even in Playa Grande -- the last mass nesting beach in the Eastern Pacific for critically endangered leatherbacks -- menus largely feature seafood caught by longlines and trawling nets, fishing practices that have devastating impacts on sea turtles.
Facing opposition from lawmakers and pressure from environmental groups, government fishing authorities pulled a controversial shrimp trawling bill from the legislative agenda last week. If passed, the bill would have reinstated shrimp trawling in Costa Rican waters.
The Bill for the Development and Sustainable Exploitation of Shrimp in Costa Rica, drafted and submitted by President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration, would allow shrimp trawlers to reinstate banned licenses while the government conducts economic and environmental studies.
Costa Rica's Ombudsman's Office issued a statement Tuesday urging the government to prioritize marine resource management. According to research by the agency – which is responsible for petitioning the state on behalf of Costa Rican citizens – climate change, poor technology, inadequate marine management and a lack of political will have depleted the country's marine resources.