Costa Rica Fishing – Great news for Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce

Costa Rica Fishing for Roosterfish

Costa Rica Roosterfish

Earlier this year the small scale commercial fishing lobby, working with the sport fishing lobby negotiated a deal to have shrimp trawlers removed from the gulf. The results were immediate. Reef fishing was the best in had been in years. It is a well known fact that for every one pound of shrimp harvested, nine pounds of by-catch mostly consisting of small fish and other crustaceans are destroyed. A trick of some unscrupulous shrimp fishermen was to dump the by catch over a reef and when the snapper came up to feed, capture them in the drag net as well.Now once again the two groups working with INCOPESCA, the governing agency for all types of fishing in Costa Rica spent almost a year completing the most recent project. Just last Friday the Golfo Dulce became an AMPR (Area Marina del Pesca Responsible) or a Marine Area of Responsible Fishing.

In affect what that does is remove all nets from the Golfo Dulce. There were nearly 200 net fishermen working the gulf. Most were part time fishermen and many were fishing without licenses. In the agreement reached all small scale fishermen were issued licenses to fish with handlines and they agreed to retire their nets. All small scale commercial fishermen will be required to use at least a #6 size circle hook which will prevent them from catching undersized fish.

In the past many roosterfish that unlike Mexico are a year round residents here, have perished in gill nets. Roosterfish have no commercial value. This agreement which was signed into law will rapidly bring roosterfish stocks in the gulf back to a level unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

Note – Crocodile Bay’s Fishing Director Todd Staley sits on the Executive Board of FECOPT, the National Federation that represents Sport Fishing Associations from all over Costa Rica

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It is amazing what can happen when people work together and the things that they can accomplish. For years different conservation and fishing groups have had ideas on how the Golfo Dulce, one of the few tropical fjords in the world and home to Crocodile Bay Resort should be managed. The problem is everyone presented different ideas separately and no one really worked together as a team.