Agreement provides for electronic monitoring of both oceans

Top Costa Rican officials from two separate ministries met Monday and made a formal commitment to coordinate law enforcement in Costa Rica’s protected coastal and terrestrial areas.

The agreement was signed by the Mario Zamora Cordero, minster of Seguridad Publica, and Rene Castro Salazar of the Ministro de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones. The agreement sets out the goals of implementing maritime patrols and establishing a radar and electronic monitoring system for boats and law enforcement in the Pacific and Atlantic coastal areas protected by Costa Rica.

The efforts would be used to counteract fraudulent maritime activities such as illegal fishing, but also narcotics trafficking.

The ministry officials said they hope to make the Servicio Nacional de Guardacosta, boarder police and park rangers more aware and better trained to enforce environmental protection laws.
Moreover the additional maritime waters designated by President Laura Chinchilla to include Isla de Coco further extends the space water patrols must cover. In total, ocean areas under the control of the Costa Rican government exceed 580,000 square kilometers and account for about 4 percent of the global biodiversity, officials said. Costa Rica’s national parks also represent a large swath of area, roughly 26 percent of the country’s land.

The contract does not designate any specific funding for the purpose of coordinating law enforcement nor is an additional influx of money provided by the central government but rather it sets out strategies for cooperation between the two ministries and other non-governmental and international agencies with similar goals, such as Costa Rica Por Siempre.

The ministry officials claim elevated enforcement and monitoring will help protect the livelihoods of law-abiding fisherman, promote tourism and protect national resources.

The ministries hope to have a specific strategy for the maritime monitoring networks in place by December.

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