The National Longline Fishing Sector made a new call to the Government of the Republic to take the necessary measures to resume the export of species such as hammerheads.
Currently, the species is subject to a restrictive measure imposed by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), through the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).
According to the sector, SINAC is the administrative authority representing the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the country, and it refuses to change this measure, despite the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA, national scientific authority for the Convention), has provided technical information that would support the decision stop the restriction.
According to Mauricio González, Executive Director of the National longliner sector,
we still can’t export the fins and meat of hammerhead shark. The only possibility of selling this product in the domestic market at a ridiculously low price… The administrative authority in the country has not wanted to hear our explanations, or see the data provided by INCOPESCA, which justifies our exporting activities (…) Our activity does not threaten the fish stocks of this species.”
The hammerhead shark is a fish caught incidentally and it represents between around 5% of shark fishing activities. Now, fishermen are increasingly worried because the final resolution by CITES, which also limits the marketing of silky shark (90% of shark fishing activities), will come into force next September.
The Longline Fishing Sector has implemented various measures to ensure transparency in the areas of shark fishing and marketing. An example of this is that 100% of their catches are subject to inspection by INCOPESCA.
Moreover, the sector said that the government insists on issuing licenses to international fishing vessels, making it difficult for domestic fishermen to catch tuna.