The Billfish Foundation entered into an agreement with its conservation partner, the Costa Rica Sport Fishing Federation and four participating Hilton Worldwide hotels in Costa Rica, pledging to stop serving all sailfish and marlin.
Because of a socio-economic study released last year by the foundation showing the huge economic value of sport fishing tourism to Costa Rica, the participating hotels adopted the ban on billfish from their restaurants in part to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the nation.
The four properties include the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Costa Rica in Puntarenas, the DoubleTree Cariari by Hilton San José, the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort and Spa, and the Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport. The decision by the hotels and resorts came after two months of discussions with Enrique Ramirez, execuitive director of the sports fishing federation, the foundation said.
“TBF is proud of the efforts by Enrique Ramirez who secured the participation of the four participating Hilton Worldwide properties in Costa Rica and explained the conservation and business benefits of the world’s sport fishing tourists, reaffirming Costa Rica’s stature as one of the world’s premier fishing destinations,” noted Russell Nelson, chief scientists of the foundation. “We specially appreciate the foresight of the general managers at the participating Hilton Worldwide hotels in Costa Rica – Ricardo Rodriguez Gil, Laura Castagnini and Rui Dominguez – that supporting sport fishing conservation efforts are good for the oceans and good for business as well.”
Ellen Peel, president of the Billfish Foundation, applauded the agreement as a new standard for voluntary conservation action in the private sector adding, “we’re very pleased to see tourism businesses and government tourism officials responding so positively to the facts and information presented by our socio-economic research conducted with the University of Costa Rica that clearly supports TBF’s message that good conservation can be good economics.”
The foundation has been working with governments such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Panama to protect billfish, mainly from overfishing coastal fisheries by commercial interests, while implementing tag and release programs for sportsmen. Herbert Nanne of San José serves as the foundation’s Central American conservation director.
Established 25 years ago, The Billfish Foundation is dedicated to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world.