The Costa Rican government has taken a big step in the continuing conservation of our precious Pacific Coast fishery. In a unanimous 52-0 Vote Costa Rica passed the TUNA reform bill requiring commercial tuna boats (seiners) to be at least 80 miles offshore.
Crocodile Bay has always been involved in Ocean Conservation here in Costa Rica thanks to former fishing director and now Crocodile Bay Ambassador, Todd Staley. (with FECOP) Those of you that have fished here in the past and in recent years have seen how the yellowfin tuna fishery has exploded.
After kicking it around in congress like a Costa Rican soccer ball for three years, the government finally passed a law (against significant special interest opposition) and mandated the tuna boats out to 80 miles off the Costa Rican coast.
Fishing will substantially improve in the future as tuna boats were taking many sport fishing species as bycatch. Thankfully, this loophole has been closed. This is a win for all sport fisherman visiting and operating from Costa Rica.
FECOP will now concentrate their efforts on the full recovery of sailfish stocks. Their scientists have been collecting data to convince the government to classify sailfish as a catch and release only species. A loophole in the current laws allows for a small percentage of sailfish to be sold on the National Market when it is caught as bycatch. We all need to continue the pressure on the government to end commercial sales of sailfish.