San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican fisheries institute VP fired over links to fishing industry

Nine months after a complaint was filed to the executive branch’s Public Ethics Office denouncing Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) Vice President Álvaro Moreno’s links to the commercial fishing industry, members of President Laura Chinchilla’s Cabinet on Tuesday fired Moreno from the government oversight agency. 

Communications Minister Francisco Chacón confirmed the Cabinet’s decision on Thursday.

“The Cabinet decided Tuesday to terminate the services of Álvaro Moreno due to a report from the Public Ethics Office and the recommendation from that office that Moreno should be fired,” Chacón told The Tico Times.

Chinchilla will announce a replacement for Moreno in the next two weeks, he said.

The Tico Times attempted to contact Moreno, but he did not answer his cellphone.

Incopesca President Luis Dobles said he had not received an official notice of Moreno’s sacking from the Chinchilla administration, but that he would “respect such a decision if it had been made.” 

Parallel to his duties at Incopesca, Moreno works as an attorney in the central Pacific coastal city of Puntarenas, where much of the country’s fishing industry is based. As a lawyer, Moreno represents fishing companies, including a group of fishermen who were detained in 2009 for fishing without using Turtle Excluder Devices, which is required by law.

On several occasions, Moreno served as interim president of Incopesca while Dobles was out of the country, although Dobles said the longest Moreno had served as interim president was 10 days.

As vice president of Incopesca, Moreno, who was appointed to the post by Chinchilla’s Cabinet in 2010, would have served a four-year term. He was also the vice president of Incopesca’s board of directors, a one-year appointment voted on by Incopesca board members.

Tico Times reporter L. Arias contributed to this story.

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