A pilot program designed to track Costa Rican commercial fishing boats offshore began last week, according to a statement from the Costa Rica Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA).
The program places Global Positioning Units (GPS) aboard boats, allowing scientists and regulators to obtain real-time information, including exact coordinates of longitude and latitude, to help monitor the movements of fishing boats at sea.
The system will eventually map out prime fishing grounds and provide “statistics regarding the effects of fishing pressure on the ocean’s natural resources,” said Otto Fonseca, spokesman for INCOPESCA.
The Public Security Ministry, which will help coordinate the program, will also become better equipped to track and locate fishermen in emergency situations, according to the statement.
Eventually, Fonseca said the system will allow fishermen off shore to receive real-time reports off weather and tide conditions, and, just as importantly, to report sightings of illegal fishing activity or drug trafficking.