San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Fishing Law Becomes Official

AFTER environmental organizationsstruggled for more than 10 years to fill thevoid in Costa Rica’s fishing legislation,the new Fishing and Aquaculture Lawbecame official this week, the nonprofitmarine-conservation organizationMarViva announced.The new law, published Monday inthe official government newspaper LaGaceta, promotes responsible and sustainablefishing.The legislation prohibits sharkfinning, the highly lucrative but unsustainablepractice of cutting off shark’s finsand throwing their bodies back to sea, aswell as dolphin and whale hunting andsportsfishing in national parks, naturalmonuments and biological reserves,Marviva said in a statement.The new fishing law also prohibitspelagic longlining and the use of commercialhook fishing lines.“One of the novelties of this newfishing law is that it establishes 18 sanctions,including fines, jail time andrestrictions on vessels that fail to paytheir fines,” said MarViva legal advisorMaría Virginia Callao.The Costa Rican Fishery Institute(INCOPESCA) now has 90 days to producea set of regulations for the law –required to put it into effect, according tothe statement.The Fishing and Aquaculture Law wasapproved unanimously by 48 legislatorsDec. 16, 2004, and approved in seconddebate by the Legislative Assembly inFebruary (TT, Feb. 18).

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