San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

CAFTA’s Environmental Secretariat dismisses complaint against Costa Rica

The Environmental Secretariat of the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) dismissed a complaint filed by Costa Rican conservation group Marine Turtle Restoration Program (Pretoma), accusing the country of failing to protect sea turtles.

Luis Dobles, president of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute, made the announcement on Thursday.

Pretoma’s complaint, filed last year, argued that Costa Rica was failing to “effectively enforce its environmental law, breaching the regulation requiring the use of Turtle Excluder Devices by the shrimp trawling fleet and failing to define the permitted areas for this practice.”

Dobles called the Pretoma claim false and said Costa Rica would avoid paying a $15 million fine. He also said it is the second time a Pretoma complaint has been rejected, adding that the Costa Rican government is not contemplating any counterclaim against the organization for damages.

Randall Arauz, president of Pretoma, told Channel 7 Telenoticias the group plans to file a new complaint on Friday.

Incopesca is still facing other complaints before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court aimed at prohibiting trawling by fishing fleets in Costa Rican waters.

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