The few that steal from everybody

Fishers in Guanacaste. Illegal fishing affects them.

According to a press release by the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, on July 24th the National Coastguard, along with Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA) confiscated two thousand meters of prohibited fishing nets in the Gulf of Nicoya, from a group of fishers that tried to stop the police work.

Illegal fishers, onboard of 32 boats and concealing their faces, surrounded the authorities with a menacing attitude. All of it was documented on video by the officers.

These fishers we not only fishing on a closed season, but they were using illegal fishing gear. By doing that, they broke the law and contributed to escalating the fishing crisis that exists on our Gulf of Nicoya. They put at risk the livelihoods of families that make an effort to invest in their future by sustainably managing their resources today. We have no doubt that these people were acting with full knowledge of the illegality of their actions.

04Harvesting

That’s what we’re doing. Closed seasons, sustainable fishing gear, Responsible Fishing Areas, Marine Protected Areas and many other tools are nothing but building blocks that we use to create a prosperous future for Costa Rica, specially for coastal communities. Without those blocks, without healthy ecosystems, we would be able to build very little.

Respecting measures that could seem limiting, might be frustrating. We get that. But we also know that the fishing communities of the Gulf of Nicoya understand the critical state of their resources and the gravity of the consequences of not managing sustainably what we have left.

Human Wellbeing

To guarantee Human Wellbeing. That the engine behind all of our conservation strategies. Human Wellbeing: our right to have a dignifying life, with work and enough resources to sustain ourselves and guaratee the same for our children.

A lot of coffee: necessary for the long fishing labour.

A lot of coffee: necessary for the long fishing labour.

The implementation of conservation strategies is not always easy. Users of the resources are necessarily going to be constrained somehow. Exploitation cannot continue in the same fashion, or that same user will not have anything to exploit in the future. And in the case of fisheries, a near future.

Our Gulf of Nicoya has been extremely productive, and to this day it provides food and income for more than 4000 fishers and their families. But its fisheries, like most world fisheries, is collapsing. And we are not the ones saying so, the fishers know it.

Authorities must continue designing measures, based on science, so that resources are able to recover. Knowledge is of the essence. So is law enforcement in our waters, imperative so a few are not able to steal what many fishers take care of.

Here you can watch a video on what happened.

Here you can hear Martín Arias, director of National Coastguard, talking about the event on the 24th:

Written by Mónika Naranjo González

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