Venezuelan trawler said to be trespassing at sea

While Costa Rica avoids confrontation along its northeastern border with Nicaragua, a Venezuelan trawler was reported to have invaded the country’s exclusive zone in the Pacific.

Commercial fishermen and sports fishermen said that the trawler was using explosive devices, presumably to direct schools of fish into its net. This took place about 30 miles off the Pacific coast, well within Costa Rican-controlled waters.

Venezuelan trawlers are no stranger to that area. One threatened a sports fishing boat Aug. 1 in an effort to drive it away.

The Venezuelan trawlers usually have home ports in Ecuador and do not have to transit the Panama Canal with their catches.

Costa Rica has an active Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas that is supposed to enforce the law on the ocean. But the previous aggressive actions by the “La Rosa Mistica” did not generate an official response from Costa Rica even though sports fishing interests contacted President Laura Chinchilla.

That attack involved the sports fishing boat Silver-Rod-O off Playa Garza in the Pacific. The Billfish Foundation also complained to the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuacultura, the country’s fishing agency.

Venezuela, of course, is an ally of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and is reported to have provided the money for the dredging and channel construction activity that has risen to the level of an international incident. Some Venezuelan officials have denied the country is fronting the money for the project, although other sources say that Iran also is involved.

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