San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Community Fishing Area Proposed for Central Pacific

Fishermen from Puntarenas, a port town on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, are seeking to create a community marine fishing area off the coast of nearby Tárcoles, in the municipality of Garabito.

Their proposal includes placing restrictions on what species of fish can be caught – and during what time of year fisherman can catch them – within a 19,600-hectare area at the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya.

CoopeSoliDar R.L., a cooperative consulting group, has been monitoring the gulf for the past five years and keeping track of the numbers of various types of fish, according to a news release from the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA).

Based on a database created by CoopeSoliDar, fishermen would not be allowed to catch fish experiencing reductions in populations, and they would be restricted from catching fish of other species during spawning season.

According to the fishermen, the hope is to manage the area well enough to allow populations to recuperate while not completely restricting fishing in the area, as would be the case if the gulf were to receive national park status.

“This is a fundamental step in the acknowledgement of our rights as small-scale fisherman, our food supply and the strengthening of our cultural identity,” says the proposal, signed by 30 area fishermen.

INCOPESCA and the Costa Rican Coast Guard would enforce the restrictions.

–Mike McDonald


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