Costa Rica Fishing









March 18th 2009

Great news - as of March 10th 2009 the seven countries that have been working together in Central America to help conserve the sportfishing in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama among others have come together and signed an agreement to work together towards "sustainable fisheries management".

It has taken a year of discussions and meetings to get this far - but it is certainly a start. They have built a constructive agenda with common points of interest - all aimed at building and acknowledging thevaue of the sportfishing industry in a year.


We will continue to montior the developments, and certainly don't expect overnight results - just happy to see some co-ordination, awareness and effort in the region !!

As an update to this discussion/thread :

There have been continuing discussions and debate in Costa Rica - driven by Incopesca to adopt new regulations aimed at preserving the sportfishing in the region.

Measures discussed (and continuing to be discussed) include

- Ban on export of sailfish harvest

- 30 mile enforcement zone for longlining


This is great news for all of us, and we commend the effort - hopefully this bill will be adopted soon........we will let you know !


You may read more on this debate in our blog at :

Costa Rica Fishery Declining...

To quote Professor Nelson Ehrhardt of the University of Miami : “The commercial fishing and sportfishing industries are in crisis” “ Costa Rica is losing status as an avenue for sportfishing. Your neighbors are gaining the best clients. The Costa Rican contingent is the region's big loser right now"

Between 2000 and 2006, the average sailfish haul in national tournaments dipped from roughly eight fish to one, and sportfishing boats failed to catch any fish on 60 percent of outings in 2007, as opposed to 37 percent that came up empty-handed in 2006.


"Why do we care" you may ask...........that billfishing in Costa Rica just isn't what it used to be ? In fact, you would think that their situation would benefit Guatemala as a Sportfishing destination.

Unfortunately the billfish don't recognise territorial waters, and many of the fish that migrate through the rich waters off the Pacific coast of Guatemala also swim through the dangerous seas of Costa Rica.

While Guatemala has enforced a "no kill" law (note that it is LAW and not POLICY) - some of our sister countries have been less enlightened. Vested interests, lack of political will, economics all play into the arguement that has prevailed to continue to allow billfish to be killed and exported from Costa Rica - and it is hurting the stock.

To their credit, sportfishing and INCOPESCA (Costa Rica Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture) have tried to improve the situation - but there remains :

There are also claims the commercial fishers underreport their harvests, further abating the number of billfish. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Costa Rica is the fifth largest billfish exporter and the U.S. the second largest importer, says Ehrhardt. **

  • Sailfish meat can still legally be exported from Costa Rica ***
  • Expanded "bycatch" allowance from 8% to 15% ***
  • Commercial longlining is allowed - 150,000,000 hooks are in the waters off Costa Rica ***

If you want to see respect and conservation in sportfishing at work - plan your next trip to Guatemala soon.

In the meantime - we would urge you to be vocal anytime that you see "smoked sailfish" or Marlin on the menu in any restaurant - make your voice heard !! Tell them we said so !!!
Our boats and crews are ready to welcome you to Guatemala for what we hope will be another record season - give us a call and support the TOTAL BAN ON KILLING BILLFISH !!!!


** Source : Interview with Tico Times August 2008
*** Source : INCOPESCA August 2008




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