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Costa Rican Fishermen Want To End Tuna Purse Seining In EEZ Costa Rica, September 5, 13

Costa Rican fishermen have asked the government to declare a freeze on purse seine tuna fishing in the Pacific by foreign vessels. It calls for international fleets using this gear type to be suspended from its EEZ for six years.

The ban is proposed by the National Federation of Fisheries (FENAPES) and the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation (FECOP) and urges 685 kilometers of territorial Costa Rican sea to be included in the regulations.

According to the IATTC, in almost ten years up until 2011, large tuna vessels caught around 250,000 tons of tuna in these waters. As little as 15 percent, however, was landed in Costa Rica. Most vessels bear Ecuador, Venezuela or Panama flags.

Over 85 percent of the 25,000-ton annual Costa Rican tuna catch is landed in other countries at a disadvantage to the local sector.

FENAPES President, Enrique Ramirez, stressed that the ruling would benefit Costa Rican fishermen by creating around 2,400 direct jobs. The fishermen expect the authorities to respond on the request within a month.

FECOP scientific director, Priscilla Cubero, said that between 2002 and 2009 the international purse seine fleet caught on average 26,163 tons of tuna per year. In huge contrast, the Costa Rican government only averagely caught 1,484 tons annually.

She also explained that between 2008 and 2011 that 39 of 201 licenses acquired by foreign vessels from the Costa Rican government were given free, which resulted in a loss of nearly one million dollars.

She added: “It is imperative to design a system of organization and management of fisheries in the Pacific Costa Rica, which prioritizes national over international fleets in order to improve the marine ecosystem’s health and the economy of the fisheries sector and of the country.”