Officials conducting a joint operation between the Environmental Court and Environment Ministry (MINAET) this week discovered 14 boats fishing illegally in Golfo Dulce, in Costa Rica’s South Pacific, MINAET reported on Thursday.
The boats were fishing in a restricted area, and one of them, identified as the Cherokee II, was detained. The boat was carrying 80 live fish that were released into the gulf.
Other boats managed to flee the scene, avoiding capture by the single Coast Guard ship that participated in the operation, MINAET said. However, officials were able to take photographs and record registration numbers of the other boats for further investigation.
Waters and Oceans Vice Minister José Lino Chaves said, “The most important thing is that we were able to obtain solid evidence of illegal fishing that takes place in the area. Both the Environmental Court and the prosecutor’s office in Golfito will continue the investigation until all of them can be captured.”
The operation is part of an ongoing investigation by Costa Rican officials after some 300 olive ridley turtles, green turtles, marlin and sailfish washed ashore along 10 kilometers of coast in the Southern Zone last month.
The South Pacific of Costa Rica is an important area of reproduction and habitat for many marine species, including sailfish and several species of turtles.