New study to map Panama’s sportfishing industry

March 24, 2011

Panama’s minister of science, technology and innovation recently announced a socio-economic research study on the impact of sportfishing tourism (see Perspective, Page 11). The Billfish Foundation (TBF) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., will conduct the research.

Science minister Ruben Berrocal and other Panamanian government ministers are working to enact sound environmental policies to preserve Panama’s resources while creating economic opportunities. Last summer, Panama banned the practice of commercial purse seining. Earlier this year it also restricted long-lining.

“My ministry is involved in tourism and the impact of sportfishing on the local marine life is very exciting, so we’re supporting this research,” Berrocal said.

According to Russell Nelson, TBF’s science director, the research study has three parts. “First we’ll map and estimate what’s currently brought into Panama by sportfishing tourism similar to work we’ve recently done in Mexico and Costa Rica,” Nelson said in a statement.

A second step will look at opportunities in Panama for new sportfishing destinations. The third will offer an overview of how Panama is undertaking fisheries and resource management now, and how they might develop a modern science-based system to “move into the 21st century.”

The study is expected to last 18 months.

Established 25 years ago, The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world. To learn more, see www.billfish.org.

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